Tree and Shrub Care – Lawn Talk Podcast

Lawn Talk with Harold Enger – Podcast Transcription

Episode: Tree & Shrub Care


Tim Kauffold: Welcome to Lawn Talk, I’m your host Tim Kauffold. Lawn Talk is a series of conversations with Spring-Green lawn care professionals. Joining me is Harold Enger. Harold has worked in the Green Industry for nearly 30 years and is a Certified Turfgrass and Ornamental Landscape professional. In today’s episode, we’re discussing the importance of tree and shrub care. Harold, one of the first things I want to ask, as we get into this subject,  do I really need to worry about taking care of landscape plants or are they going to be okay on their own?

Harold Enger: Landscape plants are able to handle most insects and diseases that they may have come in contact with, but remember, most of these plants are not native to the site that they are being planted in. They are probably coming from another part of the country, so it’s not native to where you are planting it.  And, they are going to need some special care because of that.

Landscape plants are expensive. If you have ever had landscaping done, it is not uncommon for the landscape to cost 20, 30, to 40 thousand dollars. You would want to spend the time, in essence of an insurance policy, to keep those plants from becoming infested with an insect, or being damaged by a disease.

Tim: And, what kind of applications would my Spring Green professional apply to my landscape?

Harold: We have a variety of different methods.  The most common is to foliar spray, with insect and disease control materials to take care of surface feeding insects, sucking insects, and some of the boring insects. Also, there are leaf diseases that can affect the trees, powdery mildew is one of the more common leaf diseases, or some of the leaf spot diseases, as on crab apple trees. People will often lose their trees, their trees will lose all their leaves unless they are treated, appropriately, in the spring with a disease control material in the early spring. We do a lot of foliar spraying.

We, also,  do some injections. We use a tool called a wedgle that actually injects the product into the trunk of the tree. This will put the material, whether it’s an insect or disease control, into the cambian layer—the vascular system of the plant. It is moved, or translocated, up into the plant, into the tree, to control perhaps a sucking insect, or some of the boring insects, when as an adult, will bore through the trunk of the tree where they will ingest some of this material, and then die.

A third method that we use, is to actually root feed the material. We fertilize in the fall by injecting the material into the ground,  it is moved up through the root system, and moved throughout the plant. This is, especially, good for large trees.

Tim: You mentioned that a lot of these treatments can help control boring insects. And I wonder, there is the particularly nasty Emerald Ash Borer. Can Spring Green help keep that under control?

Harold: Yes, we can. There has been a lot of good work done using different control methods for the Emerald Ash Borer. We have a program where we will actually inject the control into the trunk, or we can do it through a root feed into the plant, which will keep these insects from going into the plant to lay their eggs and the larvae to start feeding on the inside of the tree. Actually, it feeds right on the surface, underneath the bark, and these materials will help keep the Emerald Ash Borer larva from developing inside the tree.

Now, if the tree is heavily infested, there is usually nothing you can do for it. If you are in an area that is prone for Emerald Ash Borer, applying injections as a preventative, is a very good process.

Tim: If all the trees and shrubs in the landscape are particularly mature, and the trees have gotten tall, is there any special treatment for this kind of plant?

Harold: Well, the two things, that I had mentioned before, are very advantageous. The root feed, where we put the material into the soil and it moves up through the tree root system, or the injection. There are different types of materials, or different methods, that we use. There is a cost difference on some of these applications, depending on what you are treating, but we try to use the best method that’s going to give you the results you need.

And our program, generally,  starts off with a dormant oil application in the spring that puts down a very thin, lightweight oil, like a mineral oil type of material on the plant. What this will do, is suffocate any overwintering adults and cover up the egg masses to control them that way.

We will, also, do a spring root feed. We have one program applied in the spring, a product called a mycorrhizae, which is actually a fungus that will grow on the root hairs. This fungus will help those root hairs grab nutrients and water from the surrounding soil. It is called colonizing the roots and it’s a very good process. We’ve had very good results using this mycorrhizae in the spring.

And then, we start through a series of treatments for disease and insect control depending on what’s going on at that particular time of year. It is mainly a preventative, but there are going to be some curative advantages. Insects don’t all germinate at the same time, and diseases doesn’t become active at the same time, so you need to do this on a successive basis—about every four weeks we will do applications—up to the end of the summer.

When we get to the fall, we will do a fall root feed, after the tree has begun to go dormant, or begin to drop their leaves, where the flow of material is now going back down instead of going up to feed the leaves. The material is going down so that the root system can absorb this material and develop a better root system, therefore be a healthier plant the following year.  So that’s the program.

Tim: If you would like to know more about services available from your local Spring-Green lawn care professional, visit the Spring-Green web site, at  There you will find more detailed information, including how to contact a Spring-Green lawn care professional in your area.

For further reading, view tree and shrub care.