Plant Health Care (PHC) is a holistic approach to maintaining your trees, shrubs and even your perennials. PHC begins when you first select a plant and continues throughout its lifetime. Here are some of the ways in which PHC can play a role in your plant’s health and longevity:
• To begin with, it’s important to select the right plant for the location. This will go a long way towards assuring the health of your plant for years to come. It will be happy and grow the way it’s supposed to, reducing the need for ongoing maintenance.
• Provide good cultural care throughout their lifetime. That means having them pruned when they need pruning, providing any protection they need like guarding against animals feeding on them in winter and fertilizing if needed.
• Practice IPM (Integrated Pest Management). Some people believe IPM is PHC but it is only one aspect of it. IPM is the process of monitoring plants regularly for insect and disease activity and taking the action that’s most effective at controlling the pest with the least impact on the environment. Regular monitoring detects pest activity in its early stages when less aggressive treatment is still possible.
• A key aspect of PHC is preventive care. It’s said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. For example, preventive treatment for emerald ash borer (EAB) can save your ash trees from sure destruction. An already infested ash tree must be treated every year. Preventive treatments only have to be made every two years. Saving both time and trauma to the tree. The same is true for Dutch elm disease.
• Changes to the landscape can also affect the surroundings. If, for example, a large tree is removed, it could affect understory plants – those planted in the shade of that tree. Plants that would thrive under a canopy would likely be shade tolerant. Removing the source of their shade exposes them to more sunlight than they are able to tolerate, resulting in very stressed plants.
• If a plant is dead or dying, our Plant Health Care professional will recommend its removal. In addition to safety concerns, they consider such factors as the health of other plants whose roots are intermingled with the affected plant and the overall appearance of the landscape.
PHC is a specialty within the arboriculture profession. Our PHC professionals are specially trained to diagnose and treat any tree and shrub problems early before they get a foothold. They employ the most effective, cost efficient and environmentally sensitive practices available. However, you are always in charge of the program. Our PHC pro makes recommendations. You make the final decision on how to proceed.
It baffles me that property management does not uses such services more. They pay so much for landscape maintenance, but really do not seem to care about it.