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Disease Control

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Proper disease identification and treatment, especially in the early stages, are critical to disease control in trees and shrubs.

The vast majority of what we consider plant diseases in urban and suburban settings are actually noninfectious disorders. Rather than being caused by pathogens, these disorders are the result of nutrient deficiency, foreign climate, pollutants, and other often controllable factors. For instance, Chlorosis, which presents as a yellowing of the leaves, is the result of an iron deficiency (possibly due to a lack of nutrients in the soil or a problem with the roots of the tree). Noninfectious disorders can be just as detrimental as infectious diseases, so it's important to treat them seriously. However, they are generally easy to prevent through proper maintenance practices.

Many diseases are identifiable by the symptoms present in the host plant's foliage. (Image - International Society of Arboriculture)

Infectious diseases, like Bleeding Canker, Anthracnose, Dutch Elm Disease, and many others are caused by pathogens in the form of fungi, viruses and bacteria. In order for a disease to develop: a pathogen must be present, the plant must be susceptible to the disease, and the environmental conditions and condition of the tree need to be suitable. So keeping susceptible plants in healthy, unstressed condition is one major factor in preventing disease. Another is choosing disease-resistant trees and shrubs when we know that a particular pathogen may present a problem. For example, Dogwood Anthracnose is a prevalent problem in the Northeast, so an arborist might recommend planting a Stellar Hybrid Series Dogwood that has been bred to resist Anthracnose, rather than a more traditional Flowering Dogwood.

Depending on the type of pathogen present, tree and shrub diseases can be treated systemically or with foliar applications. Many pathogens infect the leaves and other external parts of a tree with spores (e.g. Apple Scab) and can be treated with topical applications. On the other hand, systemic injections of different controls made directly into the sapstream (xylem) of a tree can fight those more exterior pathogens as well as diseases infecting the trunk and vascular system.

When it comes to applying disease controls, Almstead utilizes a wide range of products for targeted control. We're also dedicated to ensuring that the materials we use to treat your property are the safest, most effective controls available in the industry. With the exception of certain products that we inject directly into the soil or the xylem (sap stream) of trees, nearly all of the controls we use are either recognized as "reduced risk" by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or are safe enough that they have been exempted from EPA regulations altogether.

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