Managing Soils To Minimize Crop Pests

Agricultural practices that promote healthy soils are a pillar of ecologically based pest management. Good soil management can improve water storage, drainage, nutrient availability and root development, all of which may, in turn, influence crop-defense mechanisms and populations of potential beneficials and pests.

In contrast, adverse soil conditions can hinder plants' abilities to use their natural defenses against insects, diseases, nematodes and weeds. Poor soils can cause plants to emit stress signals to potential attackers, heightening the risk of insect damage. For more information about improving your soil quality, see Building Soils for Better Crops, 2nd Edition (Resources, p. 104).

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