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Jim Zwack, director of technical services for the Davey Institute

Ways You Can Determine Proper Pest Management Solutions

October 22, 2013

When it comes to weighing options for tree pest and disease treatments, determining the best solutions for clients' trees often requires more careful consideration than expected. Thanks to the observations and experience of industry experts such as Davey's Jim Zwack, you can eliminate a bit of the guesswork.

Zwack, director of technical services for the Davey Institute and regular TCI EXPO attendee, recognizes the importance of understanding tree injection versus soil applications and the benefits, disadvantages and purposes of each.

"Injection is a closed application system that continues to earn more focus ," Zwack explains. "We are on the front line of that--where it's going in the future and how it's continuing to grow in the industry."

Tree injections involve direct insecticide or pesticide application into the trunk of an affected tree, while soil applications involve injecting substances into the ground at the base of the tree trunk. But which technique is better for your trees?

Pest Management: Tree Injection vs. Soil Application

The difference between tree injection and soil application lies among each method's pros and cons listed below:

Tree Injection | Advantage

  • A large volume of treatment reaches the tree in a short period of time.

Tree Injection | Disadvantage

  • Openings or "wounds" develop along the surface of the tree trunk. (Wounds, however, heal quicker following a proper tree injection.)

Soil Application | Advantage

  • Soil applications are non-invasive.

Soil Application | Disadvantage

  • Treatments applied at the base of the tree may negatively affect the quality of surrounding soil and water.
Jim Zwack Davey Institute
Consult a professionally trained arborist to help you determine which pest treatment is best for your trees.

Although benefits to each method exist, a professional consultation can help you determine which technique is most beneficial to your trees.

Pest Management: Know the Options

"Clearly we need a balance between this array of challenges that confront our urban forests and the volume of solutions we can capably provide," Zwack says.

Because websites and mobile apps have helped educate homeowners and property managers about the trees they have, their associated problems and potential solutions serving the modern client requires a broad selection of solutions.

According to Zwack, the opportunity to take advantage of multiple options increases the likelihood trees will receive proper care. "It's a good thing to have multiple tools available," he says. "Multiple tools allow you to match treatment needs with clients' trees."

pest management tree doctor
Know your pest management options before treating your trees.

However, the potential number of cultural practices, products and application techniques that could be used to address this multitude of issues only increases the range of treatment possibilities. "Have you ever done the math to see how many combinations of tree species plus insect pests plus diseases plus abiotic stresses are out there?" Zwack asks. "Me neither."

Zwack believes industry leaders need to embrace a fair amount of this complexity if they'd like clients to perceive them as professionals; put simply, arborists should aim to show they're not causing more harm than good. "We all want to be seen as professional specialists," Zwack says. "And clients want more advanced options; it helps to see different ends of the spectrum."

Jim Zwack, director of technical services for the Davey Institute, will present to TCI EXPO attendees on Friday, Nov. 15. His presentation titled, " How to Incorporate Tree Injection into Your Business/PHC Services," covers the effectiveness of different tree injection techniques and how the technology has evolved to help damaged trees.

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