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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Plant Health Care program?

A Plant Health Care (PHC) program is a customized series of visits and treatments formulated by an Almstead arborists to ensure timely care tailored to the specific plant material on a landscape. It focuses on preventing diseases and controlling pests to acceptable threshold levels established by the arborist and client. For instance, a technician might control an insect infestation with a horticultural oil application or improve overall plant health utilizing a custom-blended fertilization treatment. PHC programs do not include lawn care services.


The exact role of a PHC technician is determined by the arborist caring for a property. Arborists may prescribe a very specific series of treatments to carry out over the course of the year. Almstead also offers PHC Monitoring programs. During each monitoring visit, the technician assigned to a property inspects all of the trees and shrubs and spot treats for the conditions he encounters as necessary. At the end of that visit, the technician leaves a detailed report of what plant material was treated and for which conditions. Learn more about PHC monitoring programs here.



What happens if it rains after my trees and shrubs have been treated?

Our foliar applications to trees and shrubs typically takes between 20 to 30 minutes to dry. After that, rain will not harm these applications. If it rains before this time has passed, please call your local office to reschedule the application.


Some applications, like soil drenches of custom-blended fertilizers and compost teas, actually benefit from rainy conditions. Other applications, like injections made directly into the sapstream of a tree, are entirely unaffected by rain.



Do I need to wait before going outside after a Plant Health Care visit?

For the best results, plant material should be left alone for the first 30 minutes to allow for drying time, even when the treatment is organic. The controls we use for insect and disease problems, combined with our application methods, are both eco-friendly and effective. Moreover, the purpose of our scouting visits is to limit the use of controls to those circumstances where they are truly necessary.



How safe are the products you use?

With the exception of products applied directly into the sapstream of a tree, any synthetic products we use are highly diluted and applied well below toxicity thresholds. These materials are registered by the EPA at the same level as many household cleaners. Only state-licensed technicians perform our tree, shrub and lawn applications.



When will my Plant Health Care visits take place?

To find out the range of dates for each of your Plant Health Care visits, please refer to your Plant Health Care contract. A copy of your contract is always available through your local branch office. We’re also glad to call ahead regarding the specific date of each visit upon request.



How do I cancel a Plant Health Care service?

All cancellations of service(s) must be submitted and received in writing to your local branch office at least 24 hours in advance of application. You will receive a confirmation of your cancellation.



Do I have to be home when you do the work?

In most cases, no. We only need to be able to get onto your property and bring in equipment if necessary. A detailed report is left outlining exactly what services were performed. If you would like to be present while work is being performed, we will try to accommodate your schedule. It is our goal to perform tree services safely and efficiently with a minimum of inconvenience to the client.



Will my stump be ground as soon as the tree is removed?

Typically, tree removal and stump grinding are two very different jobs -- each requiring their own techniques and equipment. As such, these services will be performed on separate days and invoiced separately.



When is the best time to prune my trees and shrubs?

The majority of pruning work we do can be performed anytime. Factors such as the lifecycles of certain harmful insects or diseases may influence an arborist’s decision on when to prune. Pruning ornamental trees and shrubs often requires particular timing to best influence flowering and fruit production. Winter is actually a very smart time to prune because the environment is sterile and the frozen ground makes it possible to move heavy equipment onto areas (such as lawns) that would otherwise be damaged.



What is the difference between an arborist and a certified arborist?

Arborists are trained professionals that are knowledgeable and equipped to provide proper tree care. They are specially trained to provide a variety to services to maintain trees. ISA Certified Arborists are individuals who have achieved a level of knowledge in the art and science of tree care through at least three years of experience and have passed a comprehensive examination. They are also required to continue their education in order to maintain their certification, ensuring their knowledge is updated on the latest arboriculture techniques. Certification provides a measurable assessment of an individual’s knowledge and competence required to provide proper tree care. All Almstead arborists are ISA Certified Arborists. Our arborists in Connecticut are also licensed by the Connecticut Tree Protective Association, while our arborists in New Jersey are New Jersey Certified Tree Experts. While all our arborists have training in tree risk assessment, many of our arborists have also completed the ISA's Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ) program that makes them experts in conducting various testing and inspections in order to evaluate the risk associated with trees.


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