Plant Health Care
What is Plant Health Care?
Plant Health Care (PHC) is a holistic approach to caring for your trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants, with the goal of improving and maintaining the health and aesthetics of your landscape. A true PHC program draws from different strategies including cultural, biological and pest/disease control treatments. Cultural methods are the foundation to a healthy and sustainable landscape. This involves thoughtful selection and placement of new plant materials, proper planting techniques, adequate watering, mulching, soil improvement and pruning to promote health and mitigate tree failure. Biological control includes the use of natural parasites, pathogens and predators of pests. Many of these beneficial organisms exist naturally in the landscape and can be promoted by increasing plant material diversity. Certain pests and diseases will require treatment, for which we utilize a broad array of natural, organic, and synthetic products. Many of these products are considered to be “biorational”, a word to describe products that have low environmental impact. For more information on biorational, we recommend these university extension sites. UVM and UMass
Why is plant health care important?
Trees are inherently at a disadvantage when growing in a planted landscape setting due to turf competition, lack of soil microorganisms, compaction, poor drainage and low levels of organic matter. In addition, with the continued effects of climate change creating unpredictable weather events such as drought, wet spells and an overall warming trend, we are seeing higher levels of pest and disease pressure on plants that may already be under stress due to these weather extremes. The trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants that compose our landscapes contribute immensely to the health, function and value of the property, and need to be managed properly to increase long-term benefits. Chippers certified arborists will evaluate your landscape and build a custom PHC program that is suited to your specific needs.
Assessment & Monitoring
The first step to addressing plant health problems is to properly identify the host plant and the pest or disease (biotic factors) affecting the plant. We often take plant tissue samples for laboratory analysis to aid in identification or verify our field diagnosis. We also investigate environmental factors such as soil compaction, low fertility or improper planting depth (abiotic factors). These conditions are often the “root” of the problem and must be corrected first or in combination with a pest or disease problem. Our licensed, trained and dedicated technicians build a strong working relationship with our clients and over time gain a deep understanding of each client’s landscape. This creates a stronger PHC program year-after-year as we learn what specific issues are common in a landscape, allowing us to be proactive and make modifications to annual programs.
Programs & Product Choices
Awareness and concern continues regarding the long-term effects of synthetic pesticides, pollinator decline, and the overall health of our ecosystems. We are excited to offer biorational and hybrid programs that focus not only on the health of the individual trees and shrubs, but also on the health of the soil and surrounding ecosystem to foster an environment where your landscape plants will thrive.
Our new biorational program uses organic, natural and biorational products. Biorational products have the ability to control many common pests and diseases with minimal disruption to the environment and its inhabitants. Some of these products are synthetic, but are recognized by the EPA to have very low environmental risks and break down rapidly into harmless byproducts. This program is well suited for sensitive areas or waterfronts, and people who wish to use only the lowest impact products available. Many of these products are certified by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) and are approved for use on organic certified properties and farms. For more information on the term biorational, we recommend these university extension sites. UVM and UMass
The new hybrid program allows our technicians to use a broader array of products including organic, natural, biorational and non-biorational synthetic. It is important to understand that some pests and diseases can only be effectively controlled with non-biorational synthetic products. However, by using targeted application techniques we can achieve control of these difficult pests and diseases with minimal impact to the environment. This program is ideal for landscapes that experience more severe pest or disease outbreaks or landscapes that may require the use of certain products not considered to be biorational. However, we always strive to use the lowest impact treatments whenever possible.
Our proactive programs mean that if insects and disease are at or below an acceptable threshold, then a visit may consist of applying a biostimulant to feed beneficial soil organisms, boost plant growth, and increase plant health naturally. These products may contain different types of beneficial microorganisms, trace nutrients, and humic acid. Vigorous trees and shrubs that are growing in biologically diverse and healthy soil are much more resistant to pest and disease outbreaks and environmental stressors.
We utilize the latest in advanced technologies to inject directly into the cambial layers of a tree with minimal damage for treatments of varying insects and diseases such as Dutch elm disease, boring insects and bacterial blights. We can also treat for growth and seed/flower reduction.
- Deer Repellents
- Soil Amendments
- Specialized Post-Construction Fertilizer Solutions
- Mycorrhizae (friendly fungus) Root Zone Treatments
- Herbicide Applications
- Soil Injections for Birch Borer and Leaf Miner
Tree & Shrub Fertilization
Our special custom blend is a high-percentage, slow-release, zero-phosphate fertilizer with added bio-stimulants. Methodically applied in either the spring or fall, it nourishes and sustains your trees or shrubs. We use a hydraulic system which is difficult to replicate without the use of high pressure pumps and soil injection devices for optimum delivery of the product in large volumes.
Landscape Health Assessment
Our consulting professional examines a single plant or entire groups to determine the best approach for maintaining or improving the health of your landscape.