Arboricultural Systems Integration  972-772-5314

Now who would think that sanitation would matter with trees and landscapes?  We at ASI put a very high priority upon sanitation.  When our work is complete, you will not find your yard littered with cigarette butts (it takes 80 years for a cigarette filter to degrade).  Nor will you find soda cans, bottles, or the remnants of our technicians' lunches littering your lawn or tucked away under your shrubs.  Neatness counts in our book.


However, sanitation goes far beyond consideration of your propertyís appearance immediately after the job is complete.  What would you think of your personal physician if he used the same needle for your flu shot that he had just used on the person preceding you?  How many people would tolerate that?


Unfortunately, far too many consumers tolerate such abysmally deficient performance within the ranks of those that maintain their landscape.  Pruning, trimming, and excavation tools MUST be sanitized prior to use upon your property!  ASI allows no exceptions.  In fact, we sanitize our tools after cutting into wood exhibiting activity by certain fungal and bacterial organisms before we make the final cut into healthy wood!  That means it may take us longer to prune a tree, a series of trees, or trim shrubs serving as hedges.


Ignorance among those who claim to be professionals is no excuse.  Almost weekly we hear self described professionals running down a fine species of shrub that has been utilized in landscapes in the Metroplex and much of Texas for over a hundred years.  The Red Tip Photinia (Photinia X fraseri) is much maligned as being prone to bacterial and fungal foliar diseases.  They are, IF you plant them in confined spaces that require frequent shearing.  However, shearing itself isnít what causes the problem.  But shear them during wet weather, or let the irrigation system wet down all that foliage damaged by shearing that night, and youíll soon have bacterial and fungal organisms jumping for joy as they drift in on the air for a free lunch.


Worse, Joe the Yard Guy strolls onto your property from next door.  After shearing your neighborís heavily infected Red Tips, he proceeds to charge you money to transfer the microscopic critters lying upon the blades of his instrument INTO internal tissues of your perfectly healthy shrubs!  Sadly, almost every brochure concerning shearing and pruning advises sanitizing pruning and shearing instruments.  But Joe the Yard Guy ignores that solid advice.  Sometimes he doesnít care.  Sometimes he is just doing what the boss told him to do, and the boss doesnít know, or care.


It is bad enough to lose a valuable specimen shrub, but what if Joe is also pruning your primary feature tree located squarely in the middle of your front yard?  You know the one Iím talking about; the one that puts your house in nearly full shade from noon until sunset?  Joe just finished removing a tree heavily infected with Hypoxylon Canker the day before.  His pole saw, his hand saw, and all his chainsaws are coated with literally billions of spores and chunks of mycelial matter (root system of the fungus found in the wood inside the tree).  By the time Joe has finished pruning your prize tree, perhaps worth fifty thousand dollars in market value, he has inoculated almost every pruning wound on the tree!  A few months later ASI gets called.  Our client wants to know what is wrong with their once beautiful tree.  We canít stop Hypoxylon once it is in the trunk of the tree.  So all we can do is explain what happened, and give our client the cost to remove the tree.  ASI has documented far too many such cases!  It is always disheartening.


A simple cleansing of the tools, then dousing with isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) or a ten percent solution of bleach, reduces such vectoring of fungal and bacterial diseases to nearly zero.


Oddly, we have yet to find a landscaper or yard maintenance worker who sanitizes their shovels, hoes, rototillers and other digging and cultivation implements.  Some extremely nasty critters live in the soil in some locations in Texas.  Cotton Root Rot (Phymatotrichum omnivorum) is one.  In fact, it is one of the worst in the alkaline soils found in much of the Metroplex.  Outside of Texas, it is called Texas Root Rot!


Treatments for this fungus are very challenging, producing very spotty positive results.  The treatment itself may kill the plants.  Yet Joe digs up dead plants, surrounded by the grossly obvious fungal mat of Cotton Root Rot that lie on top of the ground, then comes to your house and uses the same dirty shovel to plant your new shrubs that you have been looking forward to for a long time.


Lawn mowers?  Yes, they are vectors for diseases, fungal and bacterial, also.  They can also transport insect eggs, larvae, and even adults.  Yet we have yet to find a lawn mowing service that does more than wash their mowers every few days or weeks.  SIDEBAR NOTE:  Good turf health requires mowing with a SHARP blade, yet even in the most upscale neighborhood, the contract mowers FRAY your grass with dull blades instead of CUTTING it with a sharp blade.  Fraying does have its place, though.  Shredders are purposefully dull, so that the weeds peeking up over the pasture grass or hay are frayed and killed.


As you now know, sanitation is VERY important to the well being of your trees, shrubs, and turf.  Sanitation is thereby very important to your wallet!  Please do not be shy about demanding minimal competence and attention to extremely important details from those people servicing the valuable components of your home.  If they protest the issues you have learned about here, then perhaps they arenít motivated to care about your property beyond collecting on an invoice.  And finally, be aware, some claim to do as ASI recommends.  But if you watch them closely, you will see that their assertions are only lip service.