August 2017

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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www.spor 24 // August 2017 The science of shrub care // By BRANDON M. GALLAGHER WATSON S hrubs are key to landscapes in just about every setting. With all their various shapes, sizes, textures, and colors, shrubs dominate homeowner associations, commercial properties, corporate cam- puses, even residential areas — and are often vital to the structure of the landscape design. While trees have arborists who specialize in their health, and turf care professionals can address grass issues, the care of shrubs almost always falls to the landscape managers. If your clients are looking to you to not only keep the shrubs trimmed and manicured, but healthy and vibrant as well, there are some things to be on the look out for. Insects and diseases Insect or disease issues on shrubs run a wide gamut from very spe- cies-specifi c issues (such as boxwood blight) to more general pests (such as aphids). Rather than get into any particular management strategy, it is useful to use broader categories such as "potentially fatal issues" and "cosmetic issues." The fi rst group is pretty straight- forward; left unmanaged, this issue will likely lead to the death of the plant. This could be something such as the fi cus whitefl y Singhiella simplex or the aforementioned boxwood blight caused by the fungus Cylindrocladium buxicola. Left to their own devices, these pests will kill the host plant. Landscapes managers are left with the choice of either treat for the issue or plan to have the plant removed and replaced. The second broad category of health concerns — the "cosmetic issues" — is a little less straightforward. Admittedly, I'm biased by my tree care background. In arboriculture, we are taught to educate the client on why aesthetic issues are "just unsightly — it won't kill the tree so don't worry too much about it." Occasionally we run across the client who doesn't want a leaf out of place, so we still offer some of these services, but it is not considered standard practice. Shrubs, however, are a little different than trees in this regard. We can talk a client into ignoring some leaf spots on their oak when the spots are 30 feet above their heads, but when the leaf spots are at eye-level, as they are with shrubs, the client may not be as easily swayed. Scout for off-color foliage. All photos provided by Rainbow Treecare Scientific Advancements

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