10 Tips on Maintaining Plant Health

From Planning to Pest Prevention

Maintaining plant health should start even before you purchase a plant. For plants to grow and thrive, they need the right environment. Do some research to determine what plants are best for the areas you want to grow them—whether indoors or out. Then follow these tips for continuing to maintain a plant’s health for the remainder of its life.

Plan for Maintaining Plant Health

No one buys a plant hoping it will die. We all start with the best intentions. We should start with a plan.

  1. Choose the appropriate type and location of plants. There are many varieties of plants, each with its list of requirements. Some like shade, some prefer full sun. Some require more water than others. Others won’t survive in harsh winter weather. Know the environment you live in. Then decide where your plants will live. Now go pick a plant that will thrive in that area.
  2. Pick a disease-resistant plant. If you’ve experienced too much plant death and destruction in the past—whether from pests or disease—try a plant that’s more hardy and resistant. Each plant label should say whether it resists certain fungi and other diseases or deer and other pests.
  3. Examine plants carefully before buying. Now that you’ve done some research and are ready to buy, don’t throw all that work away by buying a plant that’s already compromised. Learn about some of the signs of plant stress, such as discolored leaves, leaf spots, rotted stems, dark roots, or signs of insects. Not only is this plant in trouble, but it can spread its disease to other healthy ones around it.
  4. Don’t crowd plants. When it’s time to plant your newbie in its perfect spot, make sure it has room to grow. Space out your plants and trim out any crowded, damaged parts once it’s established.

Plant Disease Prevention

Hopefully, a well-planned garden is easier to maintain since the plants are where they’re supposed to be. However, that doesn’t mean your work is done. There’s a greater chance of disease if the plant doesn’t get the proper amount of sun, water, nutrients, and care. Here are a few ways to help prevent plant disease.

  1. Prune at the right time. It’s always the right time to trim any broken, dead, or diseased branches. Any other plant pruning should take place in the winter when it’s dormant.
  2. Careful what you compost. Not all organic matter thrown into a compost pile will decompose at the same rate. Make sure any leaves are broken up in small bits to help prevent fungus growth. Thorough composting is needed to generate high temperatures to help kill any pathogens in the material. Keep any infected plant debris out of the pile. If you’re unsure of the compost materials, avoid using them as mulch under sensitive plants.
  3. Look out for bugs. Not only do insects cause damage to a plant itself, but it also leaves an opening for other diseases to infect the leaves, shoots, and roots. Some insects also act as virus carriers and spread disease from one plant to the next. Look for any signs of infestation and act to rid your plants of pests.
  4. Clean out the garden in the fall to help prevent disease from overwintering in dead leaves and debris.
  5. Fertilize properly. There’s such a thing as too much and not enough. Test your soil for nutrients and then replenish accordingly.
  6. Water properly. Like fertilizer, you can water too much or too little. Look for signs among the leaves and soil to gauge how much water your plants may need. Water when the leaves will dry quickly but the roots still have time to absorb the moisture before it evaporates. This is usually in the morning, especially on hot days.

For more tips on maintaining plant health, contact Elite Tree Care. From planting to pest prevention and everything in between, we can help you plan how to properly care for your yard and garden.