Considering the insurance value of trees and other significant landscape plants, every facility with sizable landscaping should have both an "as-built" landscape plans of the property and a tree inventory. If you have ever had to file an insurance claim following a storm, you can appreciate the value of each tree growing in your landscape. Photograph every portion of the landscape carefully at peak color. Hiring a consulting arborist to provide appraisals for all your major trees for insurance purposes might be a wise investment.

The tree inventory will indicate number and type (and possibly value) of your trees. The landscape plan will indicate their location. Create a file of information on the needs of each tree species and note the important times for each. For example, be aware of the time a particular insect that attacks the species is most destructive. Take the information for all species and build it into a schedule that pinpoints observation and possible maintenance. Devote time to review the condition of specific trees and keep records of problems. Computers simplify such tasks today.

Since trees are constantly growing in size and value, they can appreciate at a rate faster than your property. Keep files up to date and record all maintenance done to each of your most valuable trees.

Protecting this investment on their customers behalf should be a major criteria for landscape maintenance contractors. Proper feeding and insect and disease control needs to be exercised. Storms arent the only serious threats to trees. Insects and diseases kill many more trees than storms each year.

There is a way to protect your valuable trees. It is called micro-injection and was first used 35 years ago against Dutch Elm Disease. In a matter of minutes, insecticides, fungicides, antibiotics or fertilizers can be sent into the sap stream of trees that are in danger. This method lets trees fend for themselves, without any inconvenience to people. The Mauget System, one of the originators of micro-injection, lets you prescribe treatment for individual trees at an appropriate time with no disruption to the operation of your operation. You arent reactive, you are proactive.

Pests and diseases have become highly adapted to damaging certain trees. By knowing which trees are prone to attack, in addition to the life cycle of the pests, you can provide a solid defense against injury or death of a prize tree. Individual tree care (ITC) is practical and it enables you to PLAN for the protection of valuable trees in your landscape. Best of all, micro-injection is completely targeted. There is no exposure to guests, groundwater, wildlife, or beneficial insects.

Pros and Cons of Micro-Injection:

Placing effective materials directly into the sapstream of a tree eliminates the threats of drift, runoff, or groundwater contamination. All of the material is utilized by the tree since there is no loss to soil, rain, or overspray. The material does not have to penetrate leaves or bark to become effective. Dosage can be set precisely by the size of the tree. Once the material enters the sapstream, it goes to work immediately.

In the case of insect-borne diseases, both the insect carrier and the fungal pathogen can be controlled or suppressed by the treatment. Combinations of insecticides with fungicides or antibiotics cut treatments in half.

The fear of micro-injection is based on the damage caused by the hole drilled to insert the capsule containing the materials. Trees compartmentalize damage. Large wounds can result in large portions of the tree being walled off. Micro-injection holes are generally less than one-half-inch deep and three-sixteenths-inch in diameter. The compartmentalization caused by the injection hole is very small compared to the volume of the tree.

For this reason, manufacturers use a concentration of materials in their capsules that minimize the number of holes necessary to treat a tree. The number of capsules required is determined by the diameter of the tree at chest height. Combination products also cut the number of treatment holes in half. Used according to directions, micro-injection is a cure that is not worse than the disease. When you consider the fact that micro-injection is a closed system with no exposure to applicators or passersby, no threat to groundwater, and capsules are safe to dispose of after treatment, the benefits far outweigh the risks. And, you can treat one tree at a time.

For more information on micro-injection call J.J. Mauget at 818-444-1057.