Insect and Disease control for Trees and Shrubs
In a forest setting nature has a set of checks and balances that keep
damaging insect populations under control. Many damaging pests have
predatory insects and animals that feed upon them. In the urban forest we
plant many of the same trees that grow in the woods... however, we don't
bring along the biological pest predators that protect the trees!
The first step in controlling insects, diseases or other problems... is through correct diagnosis!
Virtually every species of tree and shrub has specific insect, disease and sometimes... cultural problems associated with it. Knowing what type of plant you have, and it's potential problems, makes diagnosis much easier.
Once the problem has been identified... a course of action can then be taken. Some problems are very obvious. The leaves may be all chewed up, and there are bugs all over the tree! Other problems can be less apparent and may in fact... be caused by other factors.
Take Ash borer for instance. You may see holes in the trunk and evidence of the insect... but the underlying cause is that the tree is under stress. Ash borer only attacks stressed trees. If you keep your Ash tree vigorous and healthy... you won't have a problem with borers. Proper treatment for an Ash with borers might be to spray at the proper time to stop further borer injury... and to try to get the tree to grow vigorously, possibly through fertilizing and proper watering.
There are some rather generic plant pests, like aphids and mites that feed on many different species of plants. These pests can be controlled any time they are noticed and appear to be affecting the plant. Some insects and diseases that are specific to certain plant types generally have a small window of time in their life cycle that they can be controlled.
Knowledge of plant pests and their life cycles is essential for ...good control.
As you can see... plant pest control is not as easy as it seems. The "grab some bug spray and get after it" approach may not be valid. Knowing the plant, it's problems, and how best to control those pests... are essential before taking action.
Article written by: Kevin Jones, President - Jones Tree & Lawn, Inc.
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