Plant diseases can quickly become unmanageable once a tree is infected. It can easily spread to other plants and destroy your beautiful yard. That’s why it’s best to take preventative measures and stop the disease before it starts. In severe cases, you can always search for “tree service near me” and let the professionals save your trees. For now, let’s check out preventative tree care for long-term health.
1. Understand how infections work – Diseases occur when there are three factors at play. A disease can only happen in a conducive environment favorable to the disease with a pathogen capable of causing the disease in the close presence of a susceptible host plant. If you’re able to break any point in that triangle, you’ll be successful at stopping the disease from occurring.
For instance, if you plant Malus ‘Radiant’ in an area with the apple scab fungus during the spring season when the environment is full of moisture, you have created the perfect conditions for the disease. The tree will definitely develop scab disease in such conditions. Instead, you could avoid that situation by planting Malus ‘Prairie fire’, a disease-resistant cultivar.
Remember, you just need to break one point in that triangle. You could achieve the same by removing blighted potato tubers from your garden. That way most of the pathogens would be removed and it would slim the chances of infection.
2. Choose the right plants – The best thing you can do to prevent tree diseases is to choose the right plants for your property. This is much better than managing a diseased tree on your property. Choosing the right plant helps to prevent both infectious and non-infectious diseases. Use the free resources on the internet and visit the local gardening centers and other such places to learn as much as possible about the different parts of your garden.
Figure out the plants and trees that are growing in different parts of your yard. List down the plants and trees that are thriving in similar sites and find out spots that have poor drainage in your garden. You’ll also need to observe your property closely for a few days or weeks to figure out the wind and sun exposure. Getting different parts of your garden and yard tested also lets you know a lot about the soil.
When you have all those factors, you can start researching the plants you want to have on your property. Find out how different varieties of a plant would fare in different parts of your garden. For instance, people assume that hollies wouldn’t tolerate poorly drained wet sites. However, that’s just true for the American holly and Chinese hybrids. Those cultivars are susceptible to black root diseases if planted in wet and poorly drained sites. The same isn’t true for deciduous winterberry holly. That plant thrives in wet and swampy areas. Choosing the right plant is half the battle won.
3. Use disease-resistant varieties – Another great way of preventing tree disease is to choose varieties that have genetic disease resistance. Generic crabapples easily get scab disease and destroy the foliage during the growing season. You end up spraying fungicides on your trees all day. The harvest is destroyed, trees are barely saved, and you need to repeat the same thing the next year. You wouldn’t have to face the same situation if you planted Red Jewel, Bob White, or other such disease-resistant varieties.
Some gardeners and homeowners preach that no plant is disease-free. While that is true to some extent, you can easily find plants that have fewer problems from major diseases. You just need to do a bit more research and dig deeper to find them. You can ask on gardening forums and ask your fellow plant lovers about the plants that have worked for them.
You can also reach out to plant societies and ask them for a list of plants that they have experimented on for disease resistance. Check out the commentary on seed catalogs before buying them, and ask around at the local garden centers, botanical gardens, and arboreta. The more you research, the longer the list of suitable plants and would-be trees grows for you. However, you should take disease-resistant cultivars with a grain of salt. Nothing is absolute.
4. Maintain good yard hygiene – Eliminating pathogens is a way of breaking the triangle. However, to achieve this, you need a consistent time-honored approach. For instance, the Irish potato famine of the 1840s to 1850s was caused by the fungal disease, the late blight of potatoes. That’s when potato farmers came to know the importance of cleaning up diseased potatoes at the end of each season to break the chain and reduce pathogens from the field.
Sanitation plays a big role in preventing diseases in human society and the same holds for plants and trees. You need to remove diseased leaves, fruits, produce, and other such things from the yard and the garden at the end of each season to minimize pathogens in your property. Otherwise, pathogens keep accumulating and continue the cycle of infection. You can’t skip regular and routine pruning either. Regular pruning doesn’t just help your trees look their best, but also helps you spot red flags before they can cause major problems.
For instance, while you may not notice troubling symptoms from your maple tree from the ground, you’ll spot them instantly as you get close to the tree for pruning it. Even better if you hire professionals for the service. They handle too many trees on a regular basis and have more experience and expertise. When you hire a regular pruning service, you also hire their keen eye for free. They can warn you about diseases infecting your tree early on and help you fix the problem before it’s too late.
Preventative tree care is the first line of defense against tree diseases. The above-mentioned methods keep you prepared and avoid tree diseases for your trees. If things still get out of hand, you need to search for “tree service near me” and let the professionals do their job.