INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT VS. PLANT HEALTH
June 12, 2019
Written by Kurstin (Plant Health Department)
Purple Springs Nursery (PSN) has what’s called an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) department. This department makes decisions about how to prevent and respond to pest and disease pressures on the property.
From a traditional perspective, this involves scouting for problems, monitoring populations and severity and reacting using chemical control measures, such as pesticides, fungicides, or miticides.
This year, Purple Springs decided to change the name from the IPM department to the Plant Health department.
At PSN we pride ourselves on our innovative practices. Not only for how we grow trees, but also for how we react to these pressures. Already in the past few years, we’ve cut down on chemical usage by 30%! A huge win in our opinion but yet we are going even further.
Over nearly 2 decades, Joe Klassen, General Manager, has seen how research, in-house trials, and continually taking steps for improvement have impacted PSN’s growing practices and overall bottom line. He encourages ideas from his team and isn’t scared to try them. This culture of innovation paired with internal research has guided the IPM department to adopt, embrace, and apply a Plant Health philosophy.
The decision to change the IPM department name to Plant Health will encourage our new philosophy and help people more easily understand what we are about.
– Joe Klassen
It starts and ends with our trees. Our team wanted to find ways to grow better trees. The nursery dug into pruning and tree root development. As the research progressed, farming practices were implemented that focused on developing fibrous root systems – the key to digging trees in the middle of summer without stressing them. With our attention focused less on the tree tops and more below ground, we noticed that for every tree shipped we shipped our soil with it.
It was realized that as a company we needed to look for sustainable ways of farming to replenish all the soil that is shipped out. Having focused on root systems, the team then began studying soil biology and ecology which further lead us to look at tree pathology and agronomy. We unearthed a symbiotic relationship with the tree roots systems and soil health. This brought us back to the trees themselves- their natural genetic preferences for nutrient uptake during growth cycles and their potential for plant immune pathways. And despite the general assumptions made in modern agriculture, we followed our instincts and looked to cutting-edge information and solutions in regenerative agriculture.
By doing this we believe we’re ultimately growing a better tree. Why? Because our trees will know how to survive and establish well on their own, and also: fewer people exposed to chemicals!
A name can say a lot. We feel it’s important to identify our change in philosophy with a change in title. With the name “Plant Health” we want it to be obvious that we’re spending less time thinking about managing pests and more time thinking about growing healthy plants without compromising our Clean Plants standard.
When you buy a tree from Purple Springs Nursery you’re not just buying an excellent product, you’re also investing in the bigger picture of sustainability for future generations to come.
Stay tuned to our website and social media to follow along with our research on the ultimate tree health program.
Hear what Kurstin (Plant Health Department) has to say about the changes going on at Purple Springs Nursery!