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Farmscaping is a holistic ecologically-based approach to pest management that emphasizes the arrangement or configuration of plants that promote biological pest management by attracting and sustaining beneficial organisms. Ideal farmscape plantings provide habitat for beneficial insects, suppress weeds, and grow in close proximity to the cash crop without competing for light, water and nutrients. Research has shown that maintaining high levels of species diversity is a key characteristic of a proper functioning agroecosystem. Unfortunately, intensive farming operations including growing large monocultures, regular cultivation, and excessive use of insecticides often leads to a dramatic reduction in arthropod diversity, especially natural enemies that often keep many pest insects below damaging levels. Farmscaping is a technique designed to add diversity back to the system and minimize disturbance leading to increases in natural enemy populations by providing insectary plants as food and shelter resources.
Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
December 6, 2013