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Common Problems in the Landscape

Any landscape is proned to have problems in it. The reason I can say this confadently is becasue there are many sources of problems. A landscape can have pests such as birch borer, a desiease such as leaf spot, or the problems may be cultural such as improper trimming.

Pest Problems -

Pest problems are often noticable quickly because there will be makings on the bark or leaves. Many insects cause characteristic damage to the plant. For example, a semi circle cut out of a leaf starting from the margin would likely be a worm or catapillar. However, some insect damage can go on for some time before the devistating effects are noticed. For example, grubs destroy the root structure of turf grass and some shrubs but the damage is not seen right away. Partly because the insects are underground but also becasue we would see the effects in the foliage of the plant which is a reaction from the damaged roots.

One good thing about identifying pest problems is that the species of the tree that is showing damage will be a good indication of the types of insects that are causing the damage. For example, if we are looking at an ash tree that is dieing out and the trunk of the tree shows small exit holes than we can likely conclude that the pest is the emerald ash borer. Many insects are very specific about what type of tree they are will invade.

Controling pest in the landscpae has been at the least contrivertial. Some practices include using pesticides which many not be safe in the long term. For reasons of saftey to ourselves and the environment others have adopted a IPM or intigrated pest managment. This practice is an alternative to pesticides. One type of controle that might be used as IPM would be to bring in an insect that naturally targets the pest that is causing the problem. Ather methods such as leaving coffee grounds around the garden to repel slugs could be used.

In any case it is important to know the pest and be safe. If there is a chymical application that must be made make sure to read the lable carfully and do not apply if you are not authorized to do so.

Desiease Problems -

Desiease problems are often a problem with crop production. The reason is because the plants are in a condition where there is little spacing and no variety of species. If a desiese starts at one end of the crop and can quicly move through the plants to the other side. Desiese symtems often times show up on the leaves. There may be discoloration, thining or abnormal growth on the plant.
The best way to control a problem is to find it as soon as posible. A diligant yard worker who notices a small change in the turf of in a plant should take note of the symtems and try to find out the cause.

Cultural Problems -

Cultural Problems, although common, are among the easiest to correct. Often times I see homeowners who mispractice some landscape basics. One thing that could be ajusted is the hight of cut on the mower. Cutting the grass to low can casue a lot of damage to the turf. If it just happens once the blades of grass will be stressed and thier growth stunted but it will rejuvinate again. The real problem is when the grass is mowed to short consistantly. If you feel you might have your mower hight too low look for the signs. Is the grass browning out even after a rain? When I put a print in the grass with my shoe does the grass bounce up again? By the way, it should bounce up again.

Another common mispractice in lanscape maintanance is pruning. There are certain methods used to cut trees, shrubs or grass plants. Whenever possible make sure to make tree pruns as early as possible. The younger the tree is when a limb is removed the smaller the scare will be and there will be less accsess for insect and disease to enter the tree.



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