Plant Health Care:
Why Plant Health Care?
Your trees and shrubs add definite enjoyment and value to your
landscape and they need a healthy environment to grow and
thrive. As is often the case, there are many factors that make
this difficult for your plants. Issues such as insects and disease,
poor soils, weather, and even human intervention can limit your
plant’s survivability and success.
The Waters Edge approach is holistic in nature and aims to
provide solutions to address the factors that are needed to keep
your plants healthy.
Pests can be classified in many ways. We see them as any organisms that can be harmful to your trees and shrubs. These pests can be insects, diseases, animals, and even us. We, as homeowners, maybe doing things we think are helping our plants but are actually having a negative effect.
Once the host plant and pest are properly identified, we can formulate a practical and effective plan to address the issue. Understanding the pest’s life cycle and effect on the host plant is critical. For example, you may notice a certain pest on your plant, but it may not be the most beneficial time to treat and suppress the activity. We track our local weather patterns to determine pest emergence which allows us to perform the treatments at the optimal time for success.
We also ask ourselves why this pest may be affecting your plant. In many cases, pests may be attracted to your plants due to other stresses they may be experiencing. In essence, we do not want to put band-aids on issues that require a more intensive solution. We want to take the time and properly diagnose the root cause.
At Waters Edge, we have the ability to monitor and treat numerous pest issues that arise in your landscape. Please explore the CareTaker Program section to learn more about our Preventative approaches.
The Pests we treat are too numerous to list in full but please note the descriptions below for the more common ones.
Borer/Beetle – preventative applications
Boxwood Pests – Mites, Leafminer, Psyllids, Blight
Deer Repellent program
Leaf Spot diseases
Emerald Ash Borer
Root rot issues
Our CareTaker Program was developed to do just that – allow us to be the Care Takers of your landscaped trees and shrubs. Our goal is for you to spend time at your home on the water and enjoy your landscape. Let us care for any issues that may arise with your trees and shrubs through a proactive and sensible approach.
We often use the term Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in our fields of arboriculture and horticulture. Our CareTaker program mimics this approach of using a sustainable, science-based processes that utilize the latest technologies to identify and suppress damage from pests by identifying strategies that focus on reducing economic, health, and environmental risks.
This program is specifically customized for each property we visit based on the individual tree and shrub needs. Rather than responding in a reactive manner, this program approach gives us the ability to be much more proactive in nature. Since we are on your property on a regular basis, we are able to see and predict potential future pest issues.
Each inspection/treatment is performed by a Certified Arborist and Certified Horticulturist. You will receive a report of our findings and the services we performed following each treatment.
Soil Nutrient Management (Fertilization):
One of the most important aspects of overall tree and shrub health is the vitality of the soil in which the plants grow. This often-overlooked aspect is an area we focus on to maintain and improve plant health.
Many factors influence the viability of the soil for plant growth. Some soils may contain a makeup of heavy clay and may retain moisture while others may be more sandy and drain well. We may encounter soils that have lower levels of certain nutrients and need to be amended to improve their quality. Amending the soil to make the plants happier and healthier is a great tool we have in our toolbox.
Soil Nutrient Analysis (Soil Testing)
Soil is complex in nature but can be broken down into a more simplistic form when it is analyzed by a soil testing lab. We encourage the utilization of soil testing to determine nutrient levels and pH of the soil to make proper recommendations to amend the soil in a manner that supports healthy plant growth.
This is often the first step in the process and can be done prior to any soil amendments or nutrients being applied.
Since most of our soils are lacking in nutrients following the soil analysis,
we are often faced with developing a plan for properly amending the soil.
Our most common approach is to apply a liquid slow-release fertilizer that
is injected or drenched into the soil on an annual basis to improve soil
quality. This process delivers the needed nutrients into the soil where they
can be best utilized by the tree or shrub.
We are also capable of amending deficiencies in other nutrients such as
Calcium, Magnesium, or Iron just to name a few. If we determine that we
have a pH deficiency, we can amend this issue as well.
We are fully aware that the environments in which we work are typically around bodies of water. Because of this, we utilize products without or with minimal amounts of Phosphorus. Phosphorus is an essential element for plant life, but it can be problematic when in water as it encourages the growth of microorganisms that lead to lower oxygen levels. Not good!
Root System Care:
It is very easy to focus on the shape and form of a tree. We appreciate the beauty of the bark, the branches, the leaves, and flowers, but we often forget what is going on beneath the surface. The health of the root system and the quality of the soil play a major role in the success and longevity of the tree. If the tree is happy in its soil environment, it will be happy above ground.
Common Issues we encounter that relate to the root system:
Over Mulching – Too Much Mulch/Soil around the root collar of the tree or shrub
This, unfortunately, is a common issue that we experience as we tend to love our mulch and often use too much of it
Excess Mulch/Soil around the lower trunk or root collar of a tree inhibits nutrient flow and will cause a slow decline in the plant’s health and may eventually lead to its death
Planting trees and shrubs too deep is another common issue we experience
Both issues of excess Mulch/Soil and trees planted too deep can be addressed, if caught early enough, by performing a root collar excavation to alleviate the problem
Stem Girdling Roots
Often, when we perform the root collar excavation,
we will find Stem Girdling Roots
These roots will circle around the base of the tree or
shrub and actually “choke” the tree as it attempts to grow
If not too severe, they can be removed or severed during
the root collar excavation process
Soils can become compacted in a variety of ways, but the result is the same
Compaction leads to lack of oxygen and pore space in the soil which will result in root decline
There are methods that can help address this issue including proper mulching and utilization of the Air Spade device to loosen and enhance the soil environment
Sooty Mold caused by Cottony Camellia Scale
Sooty Mold - result of Cottony Camellia Scale