At GreenWay, we have implemented an Integrated Pest Management Plan (IPM). This is a unique process in which we focus on prevention of pest problems by monitoring pest populations and growing healthy plants, rather than reacting to pest problems using pesticides. In the event that we notice a pest in significant numbers, within a section of the greenhouse, we have several options:
- Do nothing if the pest problem is minor.
- Change the physical care of the plant depending on the type of plant pest (i.e. reducing watering, increasing humidity, temperature of the plant or fertilizer).
- Introduce beneficial insects or bugs, these are the good guys that will consume the pest insects.
- On the rare occasion, where these measures fail, we may use a low dose of organic or synthetic pesticide to control the pest.
Option four is always the least desirable approach because pesticides will also harm beneficial insect populations. GreenWay always enjoys very high beneficial insect populations within the greenhouse and plants from GreenWay will help the populations of beneficial insects in your own back yard. Prevention is the corner stone of IPM. This means we regularly check our plants and make sure that pests are correctly identified before we decide on the action we should take to control them. You may have noticed ribbons of yellow tape across some of our benches, these help us identify pest problems. Many insects are attracted to bright yellow colours.
These yellow cards are coated with a sticky substance which traps the insects which fly against them. By regularly checking these sticky traps we can easily monitor the insect populations within different sections of the greenhouse. This allows the identification of high local insect populations which can be targeted by IPM before they become a problem in the rest of the greenhouse.
At GreenWay we have learned IPM over the past 15 years and each year we learn new tricks to reduce our use of pesticides. Recently, with the addition of our tropical butterfly greenhouse, we have expanded our use of beneficial insects because we are not able to use insecticides without harming the butterfly populations. The IPM inside the butterfly greenhouse is further complicated because some beneficial insects will also eat the eggs of the butterflies inside the greenhouse. This is overall an increased awareness required for our butterfly greenhouse compared to a greenhouse with only plant problems to address. So at GreenWay we have learned a lot over the past few years, and currently use over 95% less pesticides than we did before the implementation of IPM. A figure which continuously decreases with the increase in knowledge we gain about IPM from year to year. I guess you could say that our plant are really grown the Greenway!