Doctoring Your Yard
For Immediate Release
For Further Information Contact Sonia Garth:
(217) 355-9411 Ext 217
Doctoring Your Yard
CHAMPAIGN, IL - Has your yard had a check-up lately? If not, better late than never, say plant healthcare experts. Plant healthcare (PHC) is a relatively new concept in professional landscape management. PHC can preserve and protect a homeowner's yard and pocketbook.
Preventative care, frequent check-ups, early detection, informed decision-making, and
routine treatments that provide long term, stable solutions have become vital parts of plant healthcare
programs. The approach is multi-faceted and customer-driven, focusing on the health, growth, and beauty
of a homeowner's yard.
"It's like an HMO plan for your yard," says Jim Skiera, Executive Director for
the International Society of Arboriculture. "Adopting a plant healthcare program can prevent problems or
keep them from getting serious. When homeowners and professionals work together, everyone benefits - drastic,
costly maintenance can be avoided while the value of the entire property increases."
The basic premise behind PHC is that if a plant is tended to properly, natural defenses
can be strengthened. Energy that would have been exerted on stressful factors is now applied to building
up defense systems. Just like human health, plant health improves when hazardous factors are removed from
the environment and check-ups are performed regularly.
In years past, expensive remedies were employed after a yard had been badly damaged.
These practices were often unsucessful and cost homeowners significant amounts of money in planting and
maintenance. Plant healthcare programs, however, can help ensure the health and beauty of plants and
landscapes, lowering maintenance costs and increasing property values.
"The long-term savings is virtually guaranteed," Skiera says. "Not only will a plant healthcare program enhance the well-being of plants, but it also will improve the mood and bank account of the homeowner."
What to expect from a PHC program
- Professional support -Plant healthcare experts should ask questions, explore priorities, and determine a homeowner's expectations. Look for ISA Certified Arborists or certified landscape professionals who are well-trained, educated, and experienced professionals who are familiar with landscape plants, their needs, and the pests and diseases most likely to attack.
- Individual care - Every yard is different. A homeowner's desires and expectations should drive the program while enabling professionals to care for the yard.
- Frequent monitoring - Early problem detection is key to long-term success. Professionals should inspect a yard every 3 to 6 weeks during growing seasons. A scouting report should be given to the homeowner after every visit, alerting them to any existing or anticipated problems.
- Treatment options and alternatives - If unhealthy environmental factors are present, the professional should provide the homeowner with information about the problem and all possible treatment options - just like a doctor would a patient. The best choices usually involve natural processes, those that are least intrusive. Chemical treatments should be used as a last resort. Homeowners and professionals should work together to decide what is best for the yard.
- Environmental sensitivity - Healthly plants naturally enhance their environment, strengthening natural defense systems and suppressing pests. Professionals should help eliminate pests in environmentally friendly ways, taking care to eliminate only those that are harmful. While spot spraying is one possibility, PHC professionals should avoid blanket chemical sprays.
- Cost effectiveness - PHC programs maintain the vigor of the landscape. Proactive PHC programs cost considerably less than reactive interventions.
The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), headquartered in Champaign, Ill., is a nonprofit organization supporting
tree care research around the world. As part of ISA's dedication to the care and
preservation of shade and ornamental trees, it offers the only internationally-recognized certification program in the industry. For more information, contact a local ISA Certified Arborist