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The Down & Dirty of Plant Health Care

The Down & Dirty of Plant Health Care

Just like proper nutrition can help ward off the common cold in humans, proper plant health care can ward off diseases and pests in your garden.  Granted, there are folks who defy the odds and live until ninety-eight eating a Big Mac a day, however, improper care for your plants rarely results in a flourishing flower bed. Diseases and insects are opportunistic and take advantage of inadequate plant health care.  Nourishing from the roots down nixes nasty predators—the healthier the environment, the healthier the plants. 

Soil’s Superb Superpowers

Here’s the dirt (literally): According to the USDA, soil is considered a living ecosystem. Maintaining good soil health creates a sustainable environment for landscape longevity. This means you and your loved ones can enjoy your surroundings for many generations to come. When managed correctly, healthy soil can be a plant’s superhero by:
  • Supplying essential nutrients for plant growth
  • Absorbing rainwater & saving a supply for droughts
  • Filtering potential pollutants
  • Hosting a nourishing habitat for those sassy soil microbes to flourish
All of this contributes to a high functioning ecosystem.
Bonick Landscaping The Down & Dirty of Plant Health Care

Soil Nutrients

We’ve all heard countless ads, doctor’s advice, or strong parental recommendations urging us to eat a balanced diet. While food pyramids continually evolve and change, our bodies, young and old, are still happiest when consuming an array of vitamins and minerals from food or supplements in the right quantities. Similarly, plants require the proper amount of essential nutrients. Many of these are gained from the surrounding soil— too much or too little nutrients can kill a plant. Each essential nutrient contributes to a specific function of plant growth and development.

Often, it can be difficult to spot the cunning culprit of poor plant health just by looking at it, and symptoms of dreaded diseases can also be caused by insects, herbicides, compacted soil, or large variants in soil moisture levels.

Bonick Landscaping The Down & Dirty of Plant Health Care


Common symptoms of poor plant health include:

  • Limited plant growth
  • Dead tissue at the tips,  along the edges, or within the leaves themselves
  • Dead or yellowing leaves in only one part of the plant
  • Yellow or white streaks between the leaf veins

Bonick plant health care experts test the soil in order to determine the correct amount of nutrients needed. Often, fertilization is the next step to soil salvation.

Why Fertilize?

While humans may not need fertilizer to grow and thrive, we receive many of the nutrients we need directly from plants and animals. When we don’t, we make up for it with vitamins. Plants retrieve their nutrients straight from the soil. As they grow, the soil can become depleted of essential plant nutrients, and fertilization often becomes necessary.

Organic Vs. Synthetic Fertilizers

Organic fertilizers are typically made from plants and/or animals matter and work according to the laws of science. Organics are released slowly into the soil, improving its overall quality and increasing its beneficial microorganisms. By increasing the micro biotic activity of the soil, plants can utilize the nutrients to achieve better root growth. Deeper, healthier roots are less likely to need constant irrigation. This vibrant, healthy soil results in an uprising of strong plants and a pest and disease-resistant, sustainable environment. Basically, when an organism is fed to its best ability, it develops to its full potential.
Examples: compost, guano, manure, seaweed, and processed bone meal.

Inorganic or Synthetic fertilizers typically contain less than 5% of carbon matter. Synthetic fertilizers are fast-acting and encourage top growth, but not necessarily root growth. Their high nitrogen content can burn grass and plants, thus requiring a generous amount of water after application. Synthetics can also build up salts in the soil and weaken the plants’ natural defense mechanisms, making plants susceptible to insects and disease.
Examples: ammonium sulfate and urea ammonium nitrate.

Think of it this way—sugary sweets may taste delicious and give us a temporary sugar high but sugar is not sustainable. However, if we eat a balanced meal and get our fruits and vegetables, as Mom always said, we will look and feel our best.

Bonick Landscaping The Down & Dirty of Plant Health Care


Bonick Landscaping’s horticulturists and plant health care experts have been caring for gardens for nearly four decades. You can trust our specialists to maintain healthy soil levels and keep your plants in optimum condition for a lush, year-round landscape. Contact us with any questions or to create your own custom maintenance package.