Plant Health Care
To us, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an everyday practice. In reality, we define it as using the least impactful method to control Insects, Disease, and to some extent, Abiotic Disorders. Least impactful can mean financially, physically, environmentally, emotionally, and historically in no particular order.
We do not believe the way pests were managed in the past is necessarily the best choice today. We also do not believe the methods, proved successful during the past 100 years, should be abandoned.
We have implemented and have ideas about IPM programs that we encourage you to contact us about. The image to the right has been modified from a letter-sized PDF factsheet about IPM from the Entomological Society of America.
Insects are the most damaging pest to our plants. They can quickly push turf, shrubs, and trees beyond the point of self-repair. Because of this, we work towards quickly identifying the insect and a way to control it. Treatment falls into two categories: mechanical and chemical.
An example of mechanical control can be as simple as washing a leaf surface with a jet of water. This can force an insect, like aphids, off the leaf surface down to the soil where they quickly die. There are other examples of mechanical control we can implement.
Other times, a chemical is required to kill the insect while it is on the plant. The options we have are either a contact insecticide or systemic insecticide. A contact insecticide must “contact” the insect to be effective. A systemic insecticide enters the plant, is circulated inside the plant tissues, and is consumed by the insect when it feeds on the plan
Diseases are sometimes the most difficult of plant pests to control. One of the reasons is that they manifest themselves as bacteria, fungus, and other forms (pathogens) that are hard to identify and differentiate. Unless the issue can be identified, a treatment plan cannot be developed and implemented.
To help us identify the disease we typically need to submit samples to laboratories. The laboratories culture (or grow) the suspected pathogen and try to identify it is by how it grows in a laboratory environment.
Once we have positive identification there are treatment options for most diseases. One important thing to consider is that there are not really any chemicals that prevent disease. Typically, cultural control is the most effective method to prevent disease.
Unlike insects and disease, Abiotic Disorders on plants are not caused by living organisms, but instead by environmental pressures. One simple example is the shade causing a plant to bend its stem to capture more light. Another example might be reflected light from the window on a building scorching the surface of the adjacent leaves. A third example might be leaf damage on a shrub in a drive through lane where cars idle and their exhaust is directed at specific shrubs.
Identifying the root cause involves detective work: what happened in the past to the plant, what is happening now, and what might happen in the future. Many times the issue can be corrected with novel ideas. However, the economic benefit usually plays a factor into whether or not the solution is implemented.
There are many methods used in plant health care. We want to describe a few of the most common to further the discussion…
- Soil Drench – this involves injecting our pouring a chemical directly into the soil around a plant in order to control insects in the root zone or for the plant to absorb the chemical and distribute it systemically from within.
- Trunk Application – this can be either an application of a spray onto the trunk (which the tree absorbs) or an injection directly into the “circulatory” system of the plant. It can also be an application of a “barrier” product to prevent from crawling over it.
- Foliar Application – this is the most commonly used application where a chemical is sprayed on the leaf surface to kill or eliminate an insect or disease such as an herbicide.
Our equipment allows us to make nearly any application necessary for the purposes of plant health care. Here’s a description of what we have at our disposal:
- Spray Truck – Our truck has two 200-gallon tanks and a locked pesticide storage cabinet
- Boom Reach – we have a 50’ boom truck that allows us to make applications into the crowns of palms and trees
- Soil Injection Gun – this system allows us to precisely inject a fixed quantity of solution into the ground at a predetermined root depth level
- Vertical Mulching – removing vertical “plugs” of compacted and tired soil then replacing with engineered soil brings new life to compromised root zones
- Trunk Injection – the system we use for making trunk injections into trees is Arborjet, which we believe is the best on the market
- Turf Painting – when turf color fades during winter or due to herbicide applications we have the ability to provide color back to the turf