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Plant Health Care

Plant Health Care offers a total health approach to landscape and plant health. Traditional landscape pest control programs rely on what are called “cover sprays.” The pest control sprays offered to the client are based on the company’s knowledge of common pest problems and control measures in the service area. The cover spray type, method, and timing are pre-determined by the company.

The client may have the option to choose from a number of pest control programs based on the client’s priorities. Traditional pest control programs are not necessarily bad for the environment and may be the best option for clients who have overriding concerns about program cost or are only concerned about one pest problem.

In contrast, plant health care technicians consider the landscape as a whole when deciding how to best care for plants. Technicians control plant problems through careful monitoring of the landscape environment. Chemical controls may be part of the treatment but they are not necessarily used in every treatment.

The technicians maintains landscape plants by:

  • evaluating the landscape’s environment
  • noting actual or potential causes of plant stress (stressors)
  • maintaining plant performance through proper cultural practices
  • investigating the landscape through monitoring
  • and identifying and treating problems as they occur

Because of this, every program is customized to fit the client’s property and expectations.

Why is my technician recommending a Plant Health Care program?

Your technician probably recognized a potential or actual problem in your landscape that might be best avoided or treated by implementing a Plant Health Care treatment program. Many plant problems are related to improper matching of the plant’s requirements to the landscape site. Examples of this type of mistake are easy to find. Plants may have been improperly planted. One common planting mistake is planting too deep. Planting too deep and other planting mistakes are often the source of plant problems.

Plants may be subjected to improper maintenance techniques. Landscapes are often subjected to improper pruning, fertilizing, irrigation, and other cultural practices. The following is one common example. Landscapes have a variety of plants with different nutrient requirements. They are often given one uniform fertilizing program that doesn’t meet their individual needs, causing stress to plants not suited to the fertilization practice.

Stress Complex. Often a combination of improper plant sighting (wrong plant / wrong site), improper planting and improper maintenance techniques exist, compounding the program. These all can cause plant stress and decline, making the plant more susceptible to plant diseases, pest infestations and environmental pressures. The combined effects of different stress agents is often called a stress complex.

The technician said the program will be customized according to my expectations. What exactly does that mean?

The whole program is based on you the client and your need for a healthy, vigorous landscape. A PHC technician will consider your expectations when deciding how to implement a PHC treatment program. One important question is just when do you, the client, want to resort to chemical control of pest problems.

Some clients will tolerate a greater percentage of plant damage before requiring action. Some clients will tolerate very little plant damage. Often a client will tolerate less damaged on a prized ornamental specimen tree located in the front yard as opposed to a group of shade trees growing in the back yard. This requires the PHC technician to apply a higher action threshold to some trees and/or sections of the landscape than others.

Treatment recommendations are then made to the client based on that client’s expectations. The key to a successful plant health care program is communication between the client and PHC technician.

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