What is Plant Health Care?
The idea of plant health care (PHC) is very similar to the idea of a healthy person. Similar to selecting a health care provider for your personal health, it is important to select a well-educated and experienced plant health care provider. Advanced Tree Health offers that. There are a few key components that separate PHC from the old “spray away” mindset:
- Monitoring The heart of an effective Plant Health Care program is monitoring. A true PHC expert is familiar with potential pests on each species and the life cycle of those pests. Monitoring allows for pests to be treated early before the damage the plant. Monitoring also eliminates unnecessary treatments when expected pests do not show up.
- Healthy growing conditions Your medical doctor will tell you if you want to be healthy, you should do things like eat well, get adequate sleep, and exercise often. Likewise, if you want your plants to be healthy you should look at the whole picture including soil conditions, environmental influences (sunlight, water, reflected heat, wind exposure, etc.), and pests.
- Proper placement Healthy plant management should start when you decide what to plant. Certain plants do better in alkaline clay soils while others prefer lower pH or sandy soils. There are those that will grow well in the shade while others need full sunlight. Selecting the right species or cultivars is the most effective and economical way to have healthy plants for the long-term.
- Pest identification When there are pests on your plants, it is important to properly identify the pest and know which are actually damaging the plant. Incorrect diagnosis results in more costly treatments, ineffective treatments, and possibly counter-productive treatment. Improper diagnosis is, unfortunately, far too common leading to incorrect treatments being applied. These treatments are ineffective and result in unnecessary costs.
- Integrated Pest Management (or IPM) Often a chemical pesticide is not the best or only solution to aid ailing plants. Often improving the health of a plant through other practices will be more effective than any chemical. Practices such as soil improvements, pruning, or changing irrigation will effectively restore your plants to vigor. The goal of IPM is that pesticides be used in cooperation with healthy growing conditions to economically maintain the health of plants.
- Pesticide Selection Advanced Tree Health will select and apply pesticides to have as little impact on the surrounding environment while effectively controlling the targeted pest.