Plant Health Care (PHC)

PHC is a holistic approach to tree care, where the objective is to manage a tree’s health, structure, and appearance within the expectations of the client. Let RTS’ science-based approach take care of all your PHC needs.


Monitoring Plan

  • A proactive PHC approach that is uniquely tailored to the client’s needs and goals
  • Focusing on the early detection of problems often means more conservative and/or less expensive solutions can be employed, should an issue be detected
  • Includes an e-mail summary of the findings along with any recommended action items after every visit
  • If this service interests you, please contact the PHC Director for more details

Problems

  • Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) – a small, invasive insect that feeds on sap drawn from the tree’s needles; large numbers severely weaken and eventually kill the tree; decimating the Eastern and Carolina Hemlock in WNC
  • Scales – small, soft or armored insects that feed on sap drawn from the tree’s foliage; a heavy infestation may severely weaken and eventually kill the tree
  • Anthracnose – a general term used to describe fungal diseases that result in a wide range of symptoms, including leaf distortion, necrosis, and death; Dogwood Anthracnose is a common problem in WNC that typically results in tree death
  • Blights – sudden and severe yellowing, browning, spotting, withering, and/or dying of plant tissues; most blights are caused by bacterial or fungal infections; Needle Blight is a common problem in WNC during excessively wet conditions
  • Canker – a localized area of diseased tissue, which is often circular, darkened, and/or bleeding sap; usually fungal in origin
  • Borers – burrowing insects that feed on the vascular tissue underneath the bark and/or foliage; high populations severely weaken and eventually kill the tree; Emerald Ash Borer is a well-known example that’s now in WNC
  • Caterpillars – voracious feeders that can severely defoliate a tree while producing large amounts of obnoxious excrement
  • Weevils – small beetles that possess conspicuous snouts; feed on the vascular tissue underneath the bark and/or foliage; large numbers may severely weaken and eventually kill the tree
  • Mushrooms – the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting bodies of a fungus; often indicate poor tree health and/or the presence of serious decay; a Risk Assessment to further evaluate the tree’s heath and/or propensity for failure may be required
  • Lace bugs – small, winged insects that feed on sap drawn from the tree’s foliage; feeding from large infestations causes a blotched and/or spotted appearance (stippling) on the upper leaf surface and may result in early leaf drop
  • Bark beetles – typically attack trees (usually pines) that are stressed and/or in decline; bore and feed on the vascular tissue underneath the bark; some species also introduce blue-stain fungi that cause further harm
  • Mites – microscopic arachnids that feed on sap drawn from the tree’s foliage; causes the foliage to take on a speckled appearance; severe infestations cause foliage browning and/or premature foliage drop
  • Needle cast – a fungal disease that causes browning of interior needles; infected needles eventually drop from the tree, leaving dead and/or mostly barren branches; Rhizosphaera Needle Cast commonly affects Norway and Blue Spruce in WNC
  • Oak decline – a slow-acting disease complex that involves the interaction of several predisposing factors such as weather, site quality, and advancing tree age; the first indication of oak decline is usually progressive tip dieback in the upper crown
  • Powdery mildew – a fungal disease that appears as white-gray powdery spots or patches on leaves, shoots, and/or branches; large and repeated infections may weaken a tree, leaving it vulnerable opportunistic diseases
  • Buried root flare – a tree’s root flare is not adapted to being covered by soil and/or mulch; promotes decay, compromised phloem, soil-borne infection, insect entry, and/or girdling roots
  • Soil compaction – a reduction in soil pore space; overly compacted soil limits the ability of a tree’s roots to grow and obtain the oxygen, water, and nutrients necessary for good health; the number one urban tree stressor!
  • Construction damage – may result in a buried root flare, soil compaction, grade changes, soil contaminants, increased exposure, and/or direct physical trauma to the tree itself
  • Girdling roots – malformed roots that encircle the trunk at or below the soil level; may severely restrict the flow of water and nutrients between the roots and the crown leading to tree decline and/or death
  • Macro/micronutrient deficiencies – manifest themselves in a variety of symptoms; chlorosis, stunted growth, premature foliage drop, increased disease susceptibility, etc.
  • Drought stress – causes wilting, reduced growth, scorched foliage, chlorosis, premature foliage drop, tip dieback, and/or root death; complete tree death is also a distinct possibility in severe cases

Solutions