Healthy habits

Supplement - [Increasing Profits - Arborjet]

A little prevention goes a long way for Cleary Bros.

August 3, 2016

Pear tree with a severe fire blight infection (photo taken June 2015). The tree was pruned summer of 2015.
Todd Kirchner

Todd Kirchner is an arborist for Cleary Bros., a 220-employee California company with landscape maintenance, construction, and tree care divisions. He diagnoses disease and pest issues for the trees in his care and prescribes treatment. Sometimes he recommends a change in cultural practices, like watering, mulching or root protection. Sometimes he just recommends letting nature do its work. But sometimes a tree needs more help getting healthy.

In those cases, Kirchner has a suite of products ready to go. NutriRoot, Arbor-OTC, IMA-jet 10, PHOSPHO-jet are all trusted pieces of his toolkit.

Arbor-OTC is a micro-injectable systemic antibiotic for the treatment of bacterial infections of trees and palms. Kirchner uses it primarily for fireblight control in pear trees. He says it’s best used preventatively rather than therapeutically. He will treat trees in the springtime and prune whatever is already damaged in the summer to remove the damage.

Kirchner uses IMA-Jet 10 to control sucking insects. He prefers it because he’s seen no sign of breakthrough – when the product’s active ingredient begins to drop in effectiveness, leading to an insect resurgence. IMA-jet 10 stays at a consistent level throughout the entire growing season.

“It has very good staying power,” Kirchner says.

NutriRoot has been a key component of Kirchner’s summertime watering program. Drought-stressed trees receive supplemental water, and NutriRoot’s surfactant been particularly important to thirsty trees in less-than-ideal soil.

“In the bay area, you have high clay compacted soil – it’s like concrete,” Kirchner says. “Nothing is getting in. With the soil surfactant, it’s able to break into the soil, allow water to penetrate and hold in the soil for longer. We saw really good results with that last summer, conservatively we kept about 300 trees alive through last year using that product on all our projects.”

PHOSPHO-Jet is Kirchner’s preferred fungicide for leaf and twig and stem diseases like sycamore anthracnose or pear black leaf spot. Even with an effective product, it’s necessary to set up a protection plan.

“You have to have the end game in mind before the project even starts,” Kirchner says. “You have to know what you want to accomplish or what needs to happen before you even begin to write a proposal or specify a treatment program.”

The tree was then treated with Arbor-OTC early spring of 2016 with good results (photo taken April 2016).
Todd Kirchner

For instance, preemptive PHOSPHO-Jet treatment for leaf spot in the fall can prevent a lot of remedial work in the spring. Kirchner is always looking ahead. If you know a certain time of year tends to have perfect weather conditions for a fungus to develop, don’t wait. Get those trees in that affected area protected ahead of time.

“If you can save yourself from having to be a firefighter, you can put out problems before they become problems and make the client happier,” Kirchner says. “You look better and the trees look better which adds value to the property.”

Over the years, Kirchner has developed solid relationships with the people at Arborjet. From sales managers to technical support staff to the CEO, he has been pleased with his experience.

If he’s stumped about a particular tree problem, he comes to them with questions. The Arborjet team has been a useful resource, Kirchner says, and he doesn’t mind leaning on them as such.

“They have really good quality products, and they’re always coming out with something new,” he says. “But you’re not just buying a product, you’re buying into a relationship as well, with someone who wants to help you do good in your business.”

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