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The evolution of plant health care.

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Way back in the early 1990’s, the use of IPM (Integrated Pest Management) methods were taking hold in the landscape trade.  That meant we would target pests instead of blanket spray properties.

Following that, some companies decided to use less toxic materials to control insect and disease problems on trees and shrubs.  We were one of the first companies to use Bacillus thuringiensis to control Gypsy Moth caterpillars.  We just thought that dead was dead and the less toxic the material we used to get the job done, the better.  Also, we felt better that our crews had less exposure to toxins.

One by one we replaced harsh chemicals with their organic substitutes.  It was a learning curve; finding out which materials actually worked and under what conditions.  Today, compost teas are home brewed to add the right beneficial biology to the plants and soils… giving them strength and resistance to insect and diseases.

We have learned to mimic nature.  We adjust soils so there are better growing mediums for the specific plants/turf in which they are growing.  When new plants are installed, their ball soil is often different from the soil in which it is planted.  This makes it hard for the plants to acclimate… but today we have an arsenal of techniques and materials to help new plants so they do not skip a beat and grow beautifully.

Currently, it is all about ecological landscape management.  Many landscape companies are having a tough time adjusting to the new ways, but these ways are here to stay.  By using ecological techniques, optimum results can be achieved in correcting 99% of landscape problems… and our work is sooooooooooo pleasant now.

Soil Geek

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