It can be easy to forget that our landscapes are made up of living organisms. Unlike children and pets that jump and run, plants remain firmly rooted. Yet, when they flower and grow to the point that they need pruning, that should remind us that plants have health needs, just like family members in the animal kingdom.
As the summer season winds down, this would be a good time to consider a health plan for your landscape. Such a plan is called “Plant Health Care” and involves a proactive approach to managing insect infestations and disease attacks.
A Plant Health Care program, known in the profession as PHC, begins with an inventory of your plant material. This allows us to know what pests to look for. Then one of our professionals checks your landscape at regular intervals during next year’s growing season.
According to the International Society, which developed the PHC concept, “The basic premise is that, if a plant is taken care of properly, natural defenses can be strengthened. Energy that would normally be used up fighting stressful factors can instead be utilized to build up defense systems. Regular check-ups and the removal of hazardous factors from the environment help to improve the health of a plant the same as they would the health of a human.”
By monitoring your landscape on a regular basis, we are able to identify problems early when they can be treated less aggressively than after they get a foothold. This is better for your checkbook, your landscape and the environment. Natural organic treatments can often be used when a pest is identified early and treatment begun early. More aggressive treatment is necessary once they become established.
The emerald ash borer (EAB) provides us with an excellent example of how PHC can save you money. The preventive treatment we use needs to be applied every other year. If the EAB invades an untreated ash tree, the tree needs to be treated every year. Failure to treat will result in the very expensive removal of a once beautiful tree.
A Plant Health Care program for your landscape can be compared to an HMO (health maintenance organization) for your family. Use the fall and winter wisely to look into this protection for your valuable landscape.