When It Comes to Keeping Your Trees Healthy, Nature’s Best Defense Can Sometimes be Nature Itself
February 28, 2006 – Stamford, CT – Extreme weather, pests and disease are just a few of the threats trees face on a daily basis. Sometimes, they need a little help defending themselves. That’s where professional arborists come in, many of whom are now using nature’s own defense systems to preserve trees on residential properties.
One key way is by using beneficial insects, such as ladybugs that feed on harmful aphids and spider mites, and praying mantis, which feed on nuisance pests like flies. Careful, monitored introduction of these biological predators can help sustain a balanced ecosystem, according to Dr. Bruce Fraedrich, director of the research laboratories at tree care provider Bartlett Tree Experts.
“On residential properties, many factors including the lack of plant species diversity can limit naturally occurring beneficials,” says Fraedrich. “In these situations, we can help nature out by releasing insects that reduce damaging pest populations.”
This type of sustainable care typically involves more than biological controls to manage tree health. It is a joint effort where an arborist works closely with the homeowner to ensure he or she is comfortable with the products used. An ongoing relationship enables the arborist to monitor the property so that problems can be identified early and treatments timed appropriately.
Other treatment options include organic mulches to improve soil health and the use of naturally derived products such as horticultural oils to suppress pests. According to Fraedrich, who holds a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology, research is essential to using these products effectively. In fact, all of the products Bartlett employs must pass a rigorous series of evaluations before use on a customer’s property.
Finally, arborists can also help homeowners select plants based on their ability to resist problems. For example, deer aren’t as fond of some plant species like western red cedar, which is an excellent replacement for arborvitae. Plantings like these can reduce deer damage without the need for ongoing treatments. The same theory applies to many common tree pests and diseases.
“As consumers have become more ‘green,’ the tree care industry has responded with a number of innovative services,” says Fraedrich. “While these types of practices can’t necessarily solve every problem, they are a great alternative for customers that want to maintain naturally healthy landscapes.”
For more information, call 1-877-BARTLETT or visit www.bartlett.com.
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