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Plant Health Care: Monitoring Programs
The individualized care and attention that each tree and shrub receives as part of an Almstead PHC Monitoring Program is an immense benefit to any landscape.
Monitoring and prevention is key to our Plant Health Care program. Inspections are scheduled to coincide with insect and disease cycles common to the trees and shrubs on the landscape throughout the growing season. During each visit the technician determines the health status or condition of every tree and shrub on the property. At the end of that visit, the technician leaves a detailed report of what plant material was treated and for which conditions. If a problem requires further attention, the arborist is immediately made aware and will propose a solution to the client.
Inspecting a leaf to identify an insect problem.
For effective long term landscape care, our arborists often recommend Plant Health Care (PHC) Monitoring programs. These programs consist of a specific number of property visits that include soil care and other prescribed treatments as well as on-the-spot insect and disease control by a scouting technician.
From performing soil injections to sanitation pruning, in our experience, Almstead's PHC scouting technicians do more than most people expect. At the same time, our technicians apply fewer controls (like pesticides and fungicides) than expected. The two actually go hand in hand -- as knowledge and experience of your technician is combined with their knowledge and experience of your landscape.
By approaching each landscape with an emphasis on observation, spot treatment and holistic care practices, we're able to limit unnecessary treatments and focus our efforts where they're needed.
So, what does a PHC Scouting Technician do? Let's start with soil and root care. Trees with stressed root systems and those without access to nutrient-rich soil are less capable of fighting off insect and disease problems.
Based on an arborist's recommendations, technicians may apply custom blends of fresh-brewed compost teas, fertilizers and/or a variety of organic soil amendments to increase the overall health of the trees and shrubs on a property.
Custom-blending a compost tea application.
Technicians often apply these treatments by injecting them beneath the surface, reaching roots directly and sometimes breaking up oxygen-starved, compacted soils at the same time. That being said, the primary function of a scouting technician is just that: scouting. The technician assigned to a property takes time to inspect each tree and shrub approximately every two weeks, based upon your landscape, throughout the growing season.
Sanitation pruning to prevent spreading disease
Depending on the problems they encounter, technicians take a variety of actions. For instance, they may hand-prune branches to stop a disease from spreading, perform a root collar excavation (RCX) for a plant that is over-mulched or planted too deep, or treat a pest
at the right time to maximize the effectiveness of the control used.
At the end of each visit, technicians leave behind reports detailing their observations and actions. The individualized attention that technicians give to each tree and shrub is where the effectiveness of the PHC monitoring program really lies.
We provide our technicians with a full range of controls and products (many of them organic) that safely and effectively treat the majority of problems they encounter. However, when a situation requires further attention, the property's arborist is notified immediately.
Once they understand the extent of our PHC Monitoring program, most people are pleasantly surprised to find out that it does not cost as much as they think it would. In fact, if you take into account the cost of replacing or losing valuable trees and shrubs due to neglect or disease, it is indeed a "saving."
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