CULTURAL METHODS OF PEST & DISEASE MANAGEMENT

CULTURAL METHODS OF PEST & DISEASE MANAGEMENT

CULTURAL METHODS OF PEST & DISEASE MANAGEMENT

Cultural controls are the oldest methods that have been used to manage pest populations and disease symptoms. However, cultural controls are preventative rather than curative, they are dependent on long-range planning as they depend on detailed knowledge of the bio-ecology of the crop pests & environment relationship.

Here are some of the Cultural practices that can be followed by you:

SOIL LOOSENING:

This approach can help in the control of soil borne pests & diseases through the following means-

  • Bringing larvae and pupae onto the soil surface, thereby exposing them to desiccation and predation, freezing and thawing
  • damaging the pest in its soil inhabiting phase like eggs, larvae or pupae
  • destroying crop residues, which might harbor pests that could invade new crops. This operation can be done regularly at 3-4 days intervals by wearing hand gloves or a soil rake

MULCHING

A mulch is a layer of material applies to the surface of the soil usually available & degradable materials to cover the root zone of the plants. Mulching materials that can be used are dried leaves, fruit and vegetable peels, paddy husk, coconut husk, sugarcane trash, newspapers etc.

  • Helps to retain moisture.
  • Water use efficiency can be enhanced.
  • Weed growth can be avoided.
  • Lessen the soil borne pests and diseases.
  • Buildup of soil organic matter content.
  • Efficient use of nutrients.
  • Use of available materials which is cost effective.

SOIL SOLARIZATION

Soil solarisation is a process of exposing or drying the soil to the sunlight. It is an environment friendly method of controlling pests & disease using solar power to increase the soil temperature to levels at which many soil-borne plant pathogens will be killed or greatly weakened.

Importance of soil solarisation

  • Soil solarisation helps to weaken & kills soil borne pests & disease like fungi, bacteria, nematodes, caterpillars, eggs, larvae & pupae of different pest & diseases
  • Helps to kill weed seeds due to temperature build up in the soil
  • Enhances germination & health sapling growth
  • Helps improved nutritional level in the soil
  • Helps to activate soil microbial growth in the soil
  • Enhances plant growth & yield
  • Cost effective method
  • Effective use of natural resources
  • WEEDING & REMOVAL OF AFFECTED LEAVES & DEBRIS

    Remove weeds and plant debris that can harbor pests and disease. Fallen leaves and fruit from diseased plants should be removed as many disease and pests are air borne & water borne There are a wide range of weeds which acts as hosts for many pests & disease. Hence frequent observation & removal of weeds & affected debris will keep them under control.

    PLANT POPULATION & SPACING

    The primary objective of maintaining plant population & spacing is basically to get good quality yield with high nutritional value, in the other hand, this practise is also practised to reduce the pests & disease incidence & their damage level. If the plant population is dense or high it creates a microclimate for the pests & disease to multiply & spread specially with sucking pests like aphids, mealy bugs, mites etc. Spacing is another cultural operations which maintains appropriate distance between the plants so that the symptoms does not spread easily, since spacing with be sparse & less chances of contact of plants for their easy spread.

    GROWING TRAP CROPS

  • Trap crops are those crops which are planted along with the main crop to protect it from a specific pest or several pests by attracting them for feeding, breeding and survival. Trap crops are beautifully flowering one’s that attracts insects because of the colourful flowers & their smell.
  • Trap crops used- Marigold, Chrysanthemum, Mustard, and Sunflower etc.
  • There are many aromatic plants that also acts as trap crops like Basil, Mint, Rosemary, and Lemongrass.
  • USE OF TRAPS

    Insect traps are used to monitor or directly reduce insect’s populations by trapping adult individuals and killing them. Insect traps are sometimes used in pest management programs to reduce the usage of pesticides at the initial stages only. Commonly used insect traps are-

    • Yellow sticky traps- They are designed to attract and capture a variety of insects such as winged aphids, whiteflies, olive fruit flies and cucumber beetles etc. Because of their bright colours insects feel it as a flower and gets attracted and because of the sticky nature the insects get trapped. Installing them will efficiently control the incidence of adult pests. Now a days blue sticky traps are also familiar and mainly used to attract thrips
    • Pheromone traps- A pheromone trap is a type of insect trap that uses pheromones to lure insects. Extensively used to trap fruit flies which are the major devastators for gourds. Pheromone traps attracts male flies so that they do not mate with the female flies to lay eggs on the fruits thereby, avoiding their infestation.
    • Light traps- Light trap is a device used at night to collect moths, butterflies and other flying insects like stem borers, leaf hoppers etc.
    • Water traps- These are generally used to attract insects like Tuta, moths & other flying insects

    FRUIT BAGGING

    This is the technique of covering the fruits with any material to avoid the infestation of pest specially fruit flies. Bagging prevents the insects from finding & damaging the fruits.

    The bag provides physical protection from mechanical injuries (scars and scratches) and prevents female fly egg laying activities, latex burns, and fungal spots on the fruits. Fruit bagging can be done by polythene covers, newspapers, cloth bags, fruit nets, Zipper top bags etc.

    GREEN HOUSE/MESH

    Green house is the closed structure constructed by using green shade net which protects the plants from harsh sunlight & rain splashes. Since green house is a closed structure chances of pest and fungal spores entry will be restricted as the size of the shade net will be very less There are other non-insects pests like monkeys, pigeons, squirrels, rats & rodents for these purpose we can use mesh that keep them under check.

    -Kavita B M