Sustainable Horticulture

Sustainable horticulture combines conventional and organic methods in an effort to transition conventional growers to a more ecologically sensitive approach. This approach uses knowledge of the nutrient requirements for specific stages of growth for each crop in order to apply supplemental fertilizers, water, and pest control measures only at the time and in the amounts needed for that stage of growth. Integrated pest management (IPM) strategies use biological control and crop rotation to reduce pesticide use.

In 1985, Congress set up the LISA (Low Input Sustainable Agriculture) program, which has since been renamed SARE (Sustainable Agriculture and Research Education). In 1991, SARE and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) launched a joint venture to reduce agricultural pollution. Although sustainable methods are promoted by the U.S. government and land-grant colleges with extensive research in the field, they have yet to be adopted by the majority of growers in the United States because of the fear that reliance on organic methods will reduce yield and be incompatible with socioeconomic needs.

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