Plant Health Care Services (PHC) 2017-09-05T06:02:46+00:00



The health of your soil is directly responsible for the health of your trees. Soils lacking elements vital to a tree’s health can cause severe deficiencies in the tree and can leave the tree vulnerable to pests and diseases; soils with an imbalance in these elements can cause unnaturally rapid growth that can stress or overburden the tree.

At TREEMASTERS, we will use our specialized equipment to test your soil’s pH, (your soils relative acidity or alkalinity), and determine what, if any, of the macro and micro nutrients essential to your tree’s health need to be added. Fertilization is the most common method of introducing needed elements to your soil; however there are other methods of improving the health of your soil. Most fertilizers are a combination of the three macronutrients: Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium.

TREEMASTERS utilizes the Lamotte Electronic Soil Lab to analyze the nutrient content of your soil by testing for twelve individual Micro and Macronutrients critical to your soil’s nutrition. In addition, the Electronic Soil Lab allows us to quickly and accurately check your soil’s pH as part of our thorough soil analysis. With the information we gather from the Electronic Soil Lab, we can accurately assess the nutritional needs for your soil and what course of action will be most beneficial to your trees.

TREEMASTERS practices practical deep-root fertilization after diligently analyzing the deficiencies in your soil. As a preferred alternative to chemical fertilizers, TREEMASTERS will introduce Mycorrhizal Fungi, a beneficial fungus that forms a symbiotic bond with the tree roots, helping the tree to absorb more of the available nutrients in the soil. A TREEMASTERS I.S.A. Certified Arborist will analyze your soil and help determine the best nutrient management plans for your soil.

To schedule an appointment, please call our office or Request A Free Tree Care Estimate.

Soil Analysis And Nutrient Management FAQ

Q: What Are The Benefits Of Fertilization?

A: For a multitude of reasons, including water runoff, leaching, urban development or improper soil management, the soil around a tree may be lacking in the nutrients essential to the tree’s health. Much like a person will eat certain foods or take vitamins for health deficiencies, a proper mix of macro and micronutrients must be made available to the tree in order for it to remain healthy.

Q: Why Should Nitrogen Be Limited?

A: Nitrogen is one of the most abundant elements on our planet; yet it is the one element our industry tends to fertilize with the most. At TREEMASTERS we understand that a common yet erroneous practice is to administer fertilizers with a high Nitrogen content, an element that promotes foliar growth. Excessive foliar growth without sufficient root growth can leave the tree stressed and unable to defend itself against the infestation of pests or diseases. Rapid foliar growth may also cause the tree to become top-heavy, creating a falling hazard.

Q: What Are Mycorrhizal Fungi, And What Do They Do?

A: Mycorrhizal Fungi are fungi that form a symbiotic bond with the roots of trees and plants. Because the fungi are smaller than even the smallest root hair, they can penetrate greater volumes of soil; this allows the tree roots access to a larger surface area and “pockets” of nutrients too small for the roots to be able to absorb on their own. As the fungi attach themselves to the roots, they feed on the carbohydrates produced by the tree during photosynthesis. The tree roots, in turn, use the fungi to absorb nutrients they may not have previously had access to.

Q: What Does TREEMASTERS Do To Promote Nutrition In My Trees?

A: TREEMASTERS takes a comprehensive approach to nutrient management. While trees occasionally need infusions of certain nutrients, too much of a good thing can lead to over stressed and poorly developed trees. A nutrient management plan that focuses on root growth and developing disease resistance, aided by Phosphorus, and wood cell growth, aided by Potassium, will keep the tree healthy and able to absorb Nitrogen and produce a beautiful foliar canopy on its own. We want each tree we care for to not only be beautiful, but to stay healthy and live a long and abundant life.


Pest and disease attack in trees is a problem that is most commonly treated with harmful chemicals and pesticides. However, the infestation of pests or diseases is typically a symptom of a larger issue. The health of the tree and its ability to defend itself from infestation are of primary concern. When a tree is stressed, unable to absorb necessary nutrients from the soil, or expending too much of its energy on healing itself from storm damage or vandalism, it leaves the tree susceptible to attack because it does not have the energy or resources to defend itself.

At TREEMASTERS, we prefer to take a preventative approach to dealing with pests and disease. If your tree is strong and healthy because it is receiving sufficient sunlight and water, and drawing plentiful nutrients from the healthy soil around it, it will be much more resistant to pests and diseases and better able to defend itself.

TREEMASTERS employs two Qualified Applicators licensed by the state of California. While TREEMASTERS prefers to not use pesticides and chemicals for the treatment of diseases or insect attack, we realize there may be conditions that require their use. Most commonly in Marin County and Northern California, Sudden Oak Death attacks and kills thousands of trees per year. The application of the compound Agri-Fos/Reliant can help trees defend themselves against this aggressive tree pathogen that otherwise would be removed.

For more information on how Sudden Oak Death please click the link below.

Another blight affecting the trees of Northern California is a disease known as Pine Pitch Canker. This fungus has affected thousands of Monterey pine trees along the California coast, although it has not limited itself to Monterey pines exclusively. It has also been found in Bishop pines, Knobcone pines, Torrey pines, and Italian Stone pines, among others. Trees affected by this disease will typically show signs of infection with the dying of branch tips and browning needles, and eventually sunken cankers appear on the trunk of the tree that seep a yellowish resin. Pine Pitch Canker is spread most rapidly through boring insects such as bark, twig, and cone beetles that carry the disease from one tree to another. Because it is a fungus, the spores will also become airborne and be carried by the wind. There is no known cure for Pine Pitch Canker, although there are treatments to remediate boring beetle infestations if they are present. These treatments help prevent the spread of the disease throughout the tree. For more information on Pine Pitch Canker and its potential effects on your trees, please visit the Pine Pitch Canker Task Force, or read this article from

A TREEMASTERS I.S.A. Certified Arborist can help you develop a comprehensive plan for preventing pests and disease in your trees. If you believe you have an infestation, TREEMASTERS will assist you in the remediation of the problem and the careful planning for the health of the tree.

To schedule an appointment, please call our office or Request A Free Tree Care Estimate.

Pest And Disease Control FAQ

Q: Can Disease Or Insects Be Spread From One Tree To Another?

A: Any tree that is weak or stressed is susceptible to attack by pests or diseases. It stands to reason that if one tree is infested, the surrounding trees might be in danger of being attacked as well. Any infested tree should be treated or removed immediately in order to prevent the spread of the pests or diseases to other trees. However, surrounding trees should be inspected as well to make sure they are strong and able to defend themselves. Dirty tools, such as chainsaws or pole-saws can also contribute to the spread of pathogens. For this reason, TREEMASTERS cleans and disinfects all of our tools between jobs and at the end of each work day to prevent the contamination of healthy trees.

Q: What Causes Trees To Contract Diseases Or Attract Harmful Insects?

A: Trees are left vulnerable to attack by disease and pests because they are stressed or weak and unable to defend themselves. If a tree is not receiving sufficient sunlight, water, or soil nutrients, or is recovering from damage or vandalism, it may not have the energy to defend itself against an attack.

Q: How Do I Keep My Trees From Attracting Pests And Contracting Diseases?

A: The best way to prevent pests and diseases is to ensure that your tree is receiving everything it needs to produce food, grow, and remain healthy. TREEMASTERS can assess the condition of your soil, tree and foliage to make sure it is healthy and make recommendations to help prevent against attack.