MGD's PLANT HEALTH CARE PROGRAM
Protecting plants from pests, diseases and environmental stressors in an effective and safe way is our top priority. Our monitoring and treatment plans include the use of eco-friendly products that are safe for people and pets. We also strongly support the protection of pollinators and use responsible and professional application methods.
Having a Plant Health Care Program in place for your property will help to:
Our Comprehensive Monitoring and Treatment Program will, on average, include eight visits per year, depending on the size of the property and plant material present. These visits may include a combination of deep root fertilizations, spraying to control caterpillars feeding on trees, monitoring and treating for harmful pest outbreaks, and winter deer repellants, to name just a few. During these visits, we will also inspect your property for obvious signs of concern that could be negatively affecting your plants such as over or under watering, over mulching, or improper pruning practices for example.
In addition to comprehensive programs, we also offer single treatments - we’ll provide just one treatment per year if requested.
Deer and Rabbit Control
Deer and rabbits have proven to cause a great deal of damage to residential landscapes in the Boston area and can be a very unwelcome guest on your property. They can devour flowers and foliage in one brief visit and leave a once lush landscape colorless and bare. Our Plant Health Care program includes natural, organic solutions to control deer and rabbit feeding. The products we use discourage feeding but will not harm the animals and are safe for your plants and property. We can also help by suggesting plants less favorable to deer and rabbits to help reduce the chance of further damage and treatment needs.
We can be found applying controls throughout the year as timing largely depends on the severity of the situation and the plant material on the property. We also use a variety of products which helps to strengthen our control methods and treatment plan.
Monitoring and Pest Management
Our Monitoring and Pest Management program can protect your property from the damaging effects of a wide host of insect species. Japanese beetles, scale, mealy bugs, borers and other similar pests often arrive at the same time of year and can damage, stress, and kill plants if not treated in a timely manner. With careful inspection and routine monitoring we can formulate a treatment plan individualized for your property before these pests become damaging.
Our program includes the use of organic controls and ingredients to minimize populations of harmful insects while maintaining as natural an environment as possible. If you’d like a free diagnosis of your property by our Plant Health Care Specialist, please give us a call.
Hosting an outdoor event and enjoying your landscape can be extremely difficult when mosquitoes are present. Even a day in the garden can quickly turn into a race for the nearest bug spray! At Merrifield Garden and Design, we use a natural mosquito repellent derived from garlic that is generally effective for up to two weeks, depending on the weather. Treatments are applied to the perimeter areas of the property and landscape beds and has a low odor and safe when the product is fully dried. It’s also safe for beneficial insects, the Mosquitoes will march on to other locations but the “good bugs” so to speak will stay!
If you’re hosting an outdoor event or would simply like to enjoy a leisurely afternoon on the hammock with a good book, please give us a call. You’ll be amazed at the difference after just one treatment!
Deep Root Fertilization
Fertilization is an important component for maintaining beautiful, healthy landscapes. In an urban or suburban environment, plants are often stressed and in danger of suffering from nutrient deficiencies. Compacted soils, drought, root space infringement, and aggressive pruning can all cause harmful deficiencies. When feeding trees, shrubs and flowers we use organic amendments combined with beneficial fungi and bacteria formulated for the plants being treated. We use a number of methods including liquid soil injection, soil drenching, and also dry granular applications to round out a comprehensive and effective fertilization program.
Our deep root liquid applications are scheduled according to the time of year and plant requirements, and for summer flowers and vegetables we use a more routine application schedule to promote healthy blooms, fruit, and vegetables.
Ticks can be a real problem in eastern Massachusetts and many carry, and can spread, bacteria that cause Lyme disease. If you are concerned about Lyme disease and the presence of deer ticks in your yard, our Plant Health Care Specialist can apply a treatment to the transition zones between lawn areas and woodland areas as well as stone walls and trails as needed. These areas are the preferred habitat of ticks and treatments are timed seasonally depending on their activity.
To control ticks we use a product made from Pyrethrin which is naturally derived from the Chrysanthemum flower. And as a little known fun fact, Pyrethrin can also found in many pet flea and tick collars!
In spring you may notice the leaves of many deciduous trees being eaten by tiny green caterpillars. These are Winter Moth larvae- they hatch in early spring and immediately begin feeding on leaves and flower buds. Depending on the tree type, repeated defoliation can severely stress a tree and can also put them at risk for additional pests and diseases. Some signs of the presence of Winter Moths are tiny green inchworms found on trees and plants, skeletonized leaves, and brownish gray moths on plants and by outdoor light fixtures in late Fall.
We treat Winter Moths by targeting the early stage of their lifecycle in spring with a natural product that works on contact and by ingestion. We recommend two applications depending on the severity of the infestation and the plant material on site.
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is a tiny aphid like insect that feeds on sap at the base of Hemlock needles. This can be damaging to the tree because it disrupts the flow of nutrients and slows growth. Lack of nutrients can cause the tree to starve to death, usually within three to ten years of first being affected. If you think your trees have Woolly Adelgid, take a peek at the underside of the branches. If you see the appearance of very visible white, cotton like masses then your trees may need to be treated. You may also notice once green healthy needles change to grayish green or even have early needle drop, another sign your Hemlocks may be infested.
As part of our PHC program we use Horticultural Oil to treat for Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in spring and fall. The oil smothers the pest and the white visible egg masses, reducing damage and further infestation.
An anti-transpirant, or anti-desiccant, is a wax-like material applied to the leaves of broadleaf evergreens to help reduce water loss in winter. It’s particularly helpful when applied to newly planted or transplanted trees and shrubs and to those plants in especially windy or exposed areas. If you’ve ever noticed a Rhododendron in winter with curled leaves or with a wilted, unhealthy appearance, it could be suffering from water loss and may benefit from the added protection of an anti-transpirant spray. New England winters are often harsh and our shrubs are not always prepared for or sited properly to protect themselves in extreme conditions.
We generally recommend one application of an anti-desiccant and our applications are scheduled in late Fall and early Winter.
Poison Ivy Control
As many of you know, Poison Ivy can be a very unpleasant sign of summer. It can creep into garden beds, play areas and pathways making it nearly impossible to safely use those spaces. Outdoor pets can also become carriers of these harmful oils and can spread them into homes and onto human skin.
At Merrifield Garden and Design, we can provide treatment options to help eliminate Poison Ivy from almost any area of your property.
Our treatment program for Poison Ivy includes the use of chemical products for quick, effective control. Organic treatments are also available.
Invasive Species Management
As part of our Plant Health Care Program we offer Invasive Species Management services. This is ideal for properties where aggressive plant species are present such as bittersweet, garlic mustard, buckthorn and burning bush.
If left unattended these plants can wreak havoc on a landscape, causing harm to valued trees, shrubs, perennial beds and lawns. We work to manage the population of these undesirable plants by scheduling monitoring and removal visits as well as preventative site evaluations.
Landscape Corrective Program
We’ve developed a Landscape Corrective Program out of a need to help plants recover from improper planting and maintenance practices. For example, often times trees and shrubs are planted too deeply, over mulched, pruned too aggressively or not watered correctly. Whenever possible corrective measures should be taken to help reduce the stress on these plants and to provide them with the proper environment and conditions they can thrive in. Plants that are stressed by improper installation or maintenance practices can suffer significant health issues or have a much shorter life span in the landscape than intended.
To learn more about our Landscape Corrective Program please give us a call.