Pest Evaluation and Integrated Management Programs

At the heart of Le Quattro Stagioni’s philosophy is a commitment to organic (links to organic.html) approaches to all aspects of gardening, including pest management. Read a short, personal story from owner Mariela Guastavino that encouraged to her to embrace this approach.

Centipedes prey on slugs and snails, dragonflies eat mosquitoes and aphids. (Broad-spectrum insecticides often kill the good insects. For instance, Malathion, a common mosquito-killer, also kills the mosquito-eating dragonfly population.) The common ground beetle feeds on cutworms. Ladybugs, spiders, lacewings and even some types of mites are also naturally occurring, pest controlling species that should definitely be welcomed into your garden.

The broad brush strokes of developing an Integrated Pest Management Program (IPMP) are:

  • Visiting the gardens regularly to scout for diseases and pests.
  • Identifying any pathogens that are discovered.
  • Presenting and implementing a plan to correct environmental conditions that may be adding to an increase in pest populations.
  • Developing and implementing the protocol for releasing required beneficial insects to assist in pest control as appropriate.

An intentional, organic, and scientific approach to pest management draws on many available approaches, including:

  • Creating the strong foundation of a healthy soil food web with a vibrant community of microorganisms and friendly bacteria is essential to combating pest outbreaks.
  • Calibrating environmental circumstances, including irrigation, to naturally reduce the conditions that insects and diseases need to thrive. At the same time, these adjustments will sustain a healthier foundation for your plants.
  • Implementing an Integrated Pest Management Program (IMP) over time—this is a process not an event. Working in harmony with the inherent natural processes that support plant and soil health are the route to sustainable, long-term success.
  • Pacing carefully measured changes in areas that are showing any outbreak or growth in pest activity, and which can be tracked over time. This not only supports the long-term health and vitality of your plants but also the reduction of management costs over time.
  • Maintaining and nurturing soil conditions. Through ongoing, effective, scientific techniques, the conditions of the soil can continue to be improved. This enhances the plants themselves in becoming inherently more pest and disease resistant.
  • Trimming trees professionally. Splintering of tree limbs, especially when they are not smoothed out, leaves open ongoing opportunities for pathogens to compromise your trees. Proper cutting of branches (as well as pruning back branches that may be touching electrical cables for safety) is essential to tree care.
  • Maximizing currently available resources in support of these goals. On larger properties and estates, involve both existing staff and volunteers in the ongoing scouting for—and identification of—any pest activity.
  • Incorporating from a range of different plants, including a variety of herbs, which have natural pesticide properties. Growing them as companions alongside susceptible plants can help dissuade pests.
  • Supporting or introducing beneficial organisms to maintain the natural ecosystem in your garden and initiate long-term, natural pest management.
  • Encouraging beneficial birds, butterflies, and wildlife into your garden, using a variety of plant choices and environmentally friendly products and approaches.
  • Designing natural barriers. Netting can keep birds from eating your seedlings and rings of sharp gravel will discourage slugs and snails.

To schedule an evaluation and walk-through, or to learn more, please call us at: 310-452-5064 or contact us via email at

We look forward to the pleasure of visiting your grounds and learning more about your dream garden!