In our last post, we explained a Plant Health Care (PHC) Program focuses on preventing problems as healthy plants will be able to fight off most pest and diseases.
As with humans, it’s less expensive to prevent a problem in your Portland landscape than to have to deal with it after the fact. This post will discuss in detail what elements a Plant Health Care Program should contain and how it works.
Routine inspections are key
Periodic inspections by a plant health care technician (usually 4 to 8 per year) are the main ingredient in any plan. Why? Because plants need to be examined closely to look for signs of pest or disease activity.
Identifying problems early means the problem will be easier to treat as well as having a higher success rate. It’s all part of the proactive approach of plant health care.
2-way communication is important
While it’s crucial for plant health care technicians to discuss any problems or concerns with the homeowner or property manager, it’s equally important for the homeowner or property manager to voice their concerns or observations to the technician.
After all, they look at the plants on a daily basis and may have vital information that could be helpful. They also need to share their goals and expectations with the technicians.
For example, if they have a plant or shrub that is sickly at the start of the program, both parties need to be realistic as to what can be done and a possible time frame for seeing improvement.
The best outcomes are the result of clear communication so that both parties know the other’s expectations and have agreed upon the goals for their PHC program.
Adapt plan to your needs
Since the tenets of PHC can be applied to 1 or all plants, an individual plan is flexible so it can cover all the plants, trees and shrubs in your yard or just the ones in your front yard.
Your plan will be customized so it can cover all or some of your plants, which is especially nice if you are on a limited budget. You also might have sentimental reasons for including certain plants or trees, such as ones which were planted by family member or in remembrance.
PHC includes many services
We’ve talked about how a PHC plan includes routine inspections and treating pests or diseases (as needed) but it can also cover unexpected things, such are storm damage or protecting your plants from unusual weather.
Whatever situations arise, consulting your plant health care technician is a smart move which usually pays for itself as their advice can help keep your landscape in peak condition.
Always environmentally friendly
The whole idea behind PHC is that healthy plants provide the best defense against pests so pest management rather than pest eradication is the goal. A plant health care technician knows that the presence of a few pests can be ok and even healthy BUT it’s when there’s an imbalance that causes problems.
When this happens, there are many environmentally sensitive ways to deal with the issue:
- Pheromone Traps
- Hand picking
- Tree injections
- Horticultural oils and soaps
- Spot spraying
The technician works to correct the problems which caused the imbalance rather than just getting rid of the pests as this improves the health of the plant(s) and is best for our environment.
How PHC and IPM work together
IPM stands for Integrated Pest Management and it works in the same way as PHC except that it focuses on pests and preventing situations where pests thrive. Many years ago, tree and landscape professionals realized pest suppression was a by-product of plant health care and a focus on pests missed the mark.
PHC programs include many of the methods related to IPM plus many more.
Elements of a great PHC program
- Plant focused
- Research driven
- Customer oriented
- Cost effective
- Environmentally sensitive
- Aesthetically pleasing
Those are all the elements that make up a Plant Health Care program. Now you can start thinking about a PHC program for your Portland Oregon home or business.
Look for our next post where we’ll explain why this type of program is such a great investment.