Plant Health Care, also called PHC, is a whole needs approach to landscape health management, somewhat like human health care. Preventing problems is essential to maintaining a healthy, long-lived landscape.
PHC starts with finding the right plant for the right place. Most health problems derive from cultural conditions that don’t meet a plant’s growing needs. Cultural requirements include suitable soil conditions, adequate sun or shade, proper moisture levels, good air circulation, reduced weed competition and balanced nutrition.
PHC involves monitoring plants for signs and symptoms of stress. Changing cultural conditions to reduce plant stress is key. Healthy plants attract fewer pests and diseases and can tolerate pest problems. Stressed plants don’t look pretty. They can cost more to treat or, ultimately, remove when damage becomes irreversible.
All plants are susceptible to some level of pest and disease presence. PHC focuses on reducing the stressful conditions that attract pests and diseases. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the component of PHC that employs a variety of methods to maintain those pest and disease levels below a desirable threshold.