Plant Health Care

A guide to caring for your plants and flowers


John B. Ward & Co. is committed to constantly researching the latest information concerning insect and disease issues.

Our goal is to keep your plants vibrant and healthy by utilizing the most effective controls with the least environmental impact. We take a personal interest in your landscape, offering advice and design treatment strategies in an honest and informed manner. Simply put: when your landscape looks good, we look good.

Property Inspections

The most important aspect of our plant health care model is the property inspection. Every Fall, a Certified Arborist inspects each client’s property to tailor a program based on the current state of the health of their landscape. Instead of trying to force a ‘one-size-fits-all’ method of insect and disease management, we custom design each program so that we can meet critical timing requirements of pest lifecycles without treating plants that do not need treatment. We are also always available to meet and answer specific questions and to reassess the landscape during the growing season.

I like that I deal with the same person all the time. I don’t have to reeducate someone about the property. Chris already knows about the beech tree problem, the cherry tree, the hedge around the pool…
- K. Lawrence, Bryn Mawr


A cornerstone of our approach to plant healthcare is to keep valuable trees and shrubs vibrant through proper fertilization. In a natural environment, organic material releases nutrients to trees and shrubs. Our residential environment often dictates that leaves be removed each fall and lawns are carefully maintained creating competition for available nutrients. The result is an interruption of natural nutrient cycles.

Our philosophy is to present solutions in an honest and informed manner.

We use the latest generation of blended tree fertilizers and organic root stimulants. Our fertilizers are formulated to contain slow release nitrogen, which will not leach from the soil.

They also contain humates, an organic soil conditioner that works to improve nutrient uptake and water-holding capacity. Humates also stimulates fine root growth. Advances in products include beneficial fungi, called mycorrhizae, which may be appropriate for disturbed soils and newly transplanted plants. A growth regulator, placobutrazol, is a tool that is designed to reduce tree growth, encourage a reallocation of resources to strengthen defenses, and provide therapy for trees in stressful sites.

Our philosophy is to present solutions in an honest and informed manner. Our technicians are extensively trained to professionally apply our root treatments.

Soil Injections

Several common insect and disease problems can be managed through use of systemic products injected into the soil at the base of plants, or directly into plant tissue. A single soil or trunk injection will provide effective results from one to three growing seasons, depending on the insect or disease we are treating.

Learn more about Insects and Diseases

My preference is that he is looking as much as I am to find problems. I’m always scouting and would notice a startling change. Sometimes they see an infestation that I don’t.
– J. Levy, Gladwyne

Foliar Sprays

Some insect and disease problems are best treated with foliar applications. At John B. Ward and Co., we use only the most effective, environmentally safe products on the market. We treat only when necessary and our technicians are licensed and extensively trained to professionally apply sprays.

Learn more about Insects and Diseases

Soil Therapy

All too often in a suburban landscape we encounter a tree growing in poor, compacted soil. Years ago, the only recommendation was to install a mulch or wood chip circle to the drip line, water properly and maintain fertility. Within the past decade, we have been using a tool called the Air Spade to safely aerate the compacted soil and incorporate high quality compost directly into the root system. This procedure dramatically improves the growing conditions right away and the results have been very good.

They are very good at explaining things and the science behind it. They help us make informed decisions. We rely on them heavily to guide us about the problems and good solutions.
– J. Levy, Gladwyne

Trunk Injections

Branch death, or flagging, at multiple locations in the crown of a diseased elm caused by Dutch Elm Disease, which can be treated with trunk injections.

At the cutting edge of tree care are the newest methods of direct trunk injection. We use both large volume (macroinjection) and small volume (microinjection) methods to manage various insect and disease threats without the risk of unintended exposure due to drift or runoff. Direct injection methods often have multiple year effectiveness and can compete economically with foliar or soil treatments. Dutch Elm Disease, for example, can only be effectively managed with a macroinjection of a systemic fungicide.

Recent News



October 13, 2022

Join us for our Tree Climbing Workshop

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