What is Plant Health Care, Anyway?

tree care arborist maine
PLC Chris Kemp Photo

To answer this question, we sat down with Chris Kemp, our Tree & Plant Health Care Manager. Chris has been caring for trees and plants for over thirty years. He is a Certified Arborist, is certified by the International Association of Arboriculture (ISA), has a Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ), and is a member and contributing expert for the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA). He also has a Master’s degree in Urban Forestry and Bachelor’s degrees in Horticulture and Economics.

So, it’s safe to say that Chris knows his stuff. The way he looks at what he does every day is to provide a wellness center for your trees and shrubs. He and his team provide a service designed to keep your landscape alive and healthy and free from insects and diseases, all year long.

Why is this important?

“Every year is different. Last year we had a winter that trees, plants, and shrubs didn’t like. We had very little snow, it was warm and then cold, so the plants didn’t get their typical dormant period. The warmer temperatures woke them up, only to be shocked by the freezing cold that followed. So, we’re seeing the effects of this on certain plants this spring,” said Chris.

Additionally, non-native plants are being introduced to the area. These plants are not familiar with our climate and therefore need extra TLC to survive and thrive in New England. The changing weather patterns like I mentioned earlier, along with new insects coming in from other parts of the world means that it’s more important than ever to have a plan to keep your landscape healthy.”

One example is a new problem effecting ash trees in our area. The Emerald ash borer has arrived in New England, killing hundreds of ash trees, here and across the country. This pesky beetle is believed to have arrived in the US on solid wood packing material carried in cargo ships or airplanes originating from its native Asia.

According to Chris Kemp, “This is a very serious threat;  we are removing 18 ash trees from one property because they cannot survive the destruction that this beetle causes – it essentially feeds on the inner bark of ash trees, which disrupts the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients.”

Just as the human body needs regular check-ups and visits to the doctor, so too do your plants and trees. Prevention is the best medicine and working with licensed, certified specialists will help to keep things healthy outside your home. Chris and his team do this with their Plant Health Care Monitor Program, where they visit a property to assess the make-up of trees, shrubs, and plants, determine any special needs, and visit several times throughout the year to treat and monitor the overall health of the landscape.

One effective treatment is soil injections, which is an organic mixture of nutrients, similar to a multi-vitamin for your body. Now that PLTS has an office in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, Chris and his team are designing new treatment plans specific to the lake environment – which is quite different from the seacoast environment.

Having a solid plant health care plan in place just makes good sense. There are so many factors that affect the health of your landscape, and it’s not a one-size fits all deal. Weather patterns, insect and disease trends, soil quality, irrigation, and the make-up of your own unique plantings all determine the best plan to keep your landscape healthy and thriving, even as it matures.

Communication is essential for Chris, he says, “We love keeping our clients informed of what we’re doing, and what is affecting the health of their landscape. We’re committed to being as gentle as possible by not using too many pesticides and leaning more towards organic versus synthetic treatments.  Many factors are taken into consideration when we design your Plant Health Care Monitoring Program and we’re happy to share our knowledge and expertise with you every step of the way.”

For more information on plant health care, or to schedule a consultation with Chris Kemp, click HERE.

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