The "Root" of the Problem

     While we at The Bug Clinic do not specialize in this area, we are prepared to provide some general information and some solutions.  

     Trees and shrubs are affected by the environment in a number of ways.  Beside the usual problems such as insects and disease, plants such as these are affected by the weather, animals, pollution (salt, acid rain, etc.), improper planting procedures and more.  Even worse, plants susceptible to insects or disease are installed where they should not be which makes for both an unhealthy plant and an unhappy property owner.

Proper Plant Health Care

     Most important is proper plant selection.  If you are planning to add new plants to your home or office environment, discuss the suitability of each item according to need for light, water and soil quality with a professional or with someone at Cooperative Extension.   Plants should be suitable for the climate and the most insect and disease resistant variety of the plant should be specified where possible.

    You can also talk to a knowledgeable landscape architect or arborist and they can advise you as to which plants are best suited for your specific environment.

Building from the Bottom, Down

    For both new and existing plants, it is a good idea to check the quality of the soil by extracting a soil sample to test to determine if there are deficiencies in the surrounding soil that can stress the plant.   Cooperative Extension can test the soil for you.

     If deficiencies are found, a group of products called biostimulants is available at nurseries to help with certain specific problems.  These products can be used for both new plantings as well as for established trees or shrubs.   Liquid and dry formulations are available.   Liquid versions may be applied with a garden hose end applicator.  Granular products may be applied with a spreader.  It is important to get a sufficient amount of water out with each product to move the product into the root zone.  

Help for Established Plants

     While spraying trees with insecticides or fungicides can be helpful, the size of some plants makes this impractical as a do-it-yourself project.  We do offer solutions which minimize one's exposure to pesticides while helping plants affected by insects, disease or stress related to a number of environmental factors.

    Easily installed implants containing acephate (Orthene) may be used for a number of insect problems on trees.  Acecap** implants are are installed by drilling into the plant to a depth just below the cambium layer.  The number of implants needed is determined by measuring the diameter of the tree at breast height (DBH) and multiplying by 3.14 (pi) to determine the circumference.  One implant is needed for each 4 inches of circumference. 

    Acecap** implants can be used to treat many different insect problems including Emerald Ash Borer which is devastating trees in a number of states.  It can also be used for common pest species such as gypsy moth, birch leaf miner, scale, pine tip moth and others.  These implants are sold in a 3/8" implants and a 1/4" (Mini) implant.

     Medicap MD implants contain a 12-4-4 fertilizer plus micronutrients Iron, Manganese and Zinc.  They are applied as described above.  These fertilizer implants can give a healthy plant a boost or aid a tree that is suffering the effects of iron, manganese or zinc deficiency.  Once installed, the implants can remain effect for up to two growing seasons.

     Acecap Mini** and Medicap Mini implants are 1/4" in diameter and can be used  for plants of 3" diameter or less.

Professional Care of Trees and Shrubs

    While many individuals enjoy taking care of the landscape around their home, a lot of us are really too busy to pay attention.  Ask the professional about proper plant maintenance.  An arborist that is involve with plant health care services such as fertilizing, pest monitoring and pesticide applications when needed is a good approach for the busy household.

    In addition to offering these services, an arborist can also provide physical maintenance such as pruning and trimming to best maintain the plants around your home or office.

**In response to a request by a representative of the Canadian Government on 4/29/2005, we have agreed not to ship Acecap products to Canada.**

 

At The Bug Clinic, we're here to help.  If you have any questions, send an E-Mail and we will respond.  By telephone, we may be reached in the US and Canada, toll free at 800-433-1128 or 845-356-2837.