Author: Burkholder PHC

Scale Insects in Landscape Plants

There is consensus among plant health care professionals that the complex of insect and disease pests in landscape plants is becoming more explosive, harder to predict, and more difficult to manage. As invasive pests like Asian longhorn beetle (1998), brown marmorated stink bug (1998), emerald ash borer (2002), and spotted lanternfly (2014) have been brought in through the back door of global trade, attention has been drawn away from many old-school native pest groups, allowing some to catch a foothold in landscape plants and become increasingly problematic. No landscape plant pests have expanded more in the past decade than scale insects, which have historically been kept in check by biological control agents (predators and parasites), kept at low levels by weather factors, or controlled by collateral effects of treatments targeting other pests. In fact, advances in the technology of pest control may be partially responsible for the increasing threat from this pest group, as fewer systemic and broad-spectrum chemicals are used for non-selective pest management in landscape plants.

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Scale insects are an extremely broad and diverse group, made up of two basic subgroups: soft scale and hardshell scale (armored scale). Soft scales are fairly large (visible to the naked eye) and secrete sugary honeydew that forms black mold on the infested plant along with anything beneath. These insects may look like small bumps on twigs and stems and are most commonly located and identified because of the amount of mold that grows on their excrement, turning plants black. Armored scale are much smaller, often not visible to the naked eye, and generally shaped like tiny oysters. Armored scale are most commonly located and identified because of decline/dieback of individual limbs or white, waxy powder on interior stems. Scale insects do not move very much and spend most of their life securely attached to the plant like a tick or a barnacle. All species of scale insects feed on the vascular system of the plants, intercepting critical nutrients moving between leaves and roots, leading to rapid decline of the infested plant.

A majority of common landscape plant species have one or more species of scale insects that feed on them and can cause significant damage; in the 2021 field season, we identified and treated 18 species of scale on properties in Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties.

Plant Species Soft Scale Armored Scale
Azalea Cottony Azalea Scale
Azalea Bark Scale
Cherry Laurel/Skip Laurel

White Peach/Prunicola Scale

Euonymus (Burning Bush)

Euonymus Scale
Japanese Maple Scale

Holly Cottony Camellia (Taxus) Scale

White Peach/Prunicola Scale
Japanese Maple Scale

Rhododendron Cottony Azalea Scale

Cottony Camellia (Taxus)
Scale Fletcher Scale

Viburnum Cottony Camellia (Taxus) Scale

Oystershell Scale

Arborvitae Fletcher Scale
Pieris Azalea Bark Scale

Maskell Scale

Dogwood Cottony Maple Scale

Japanese Maple Scale

Redbud Lecanium Scale
Crape Myrtle Crape Myrtle Bark Scale

White Peach/Prunicola Scale

Magnolia Magnolia Scale

Fiorina/Hemlock Elongate Scale

Spruce Spruce Bud Scale
Witch Hazel Cottony Camellia (Taxus) Scale
Japanese Maple

Japanese Maple Scale

Hybrid Elm/Zelkova European Elm Scale

Japanese Maple Scale

  • Azalea Bark Scale

  • Azalea Bark Scale

  • Cottony Azalea Scale

  • Cottony Camelia Scale

  • Cottony Maple Scale

  • Crape Myrtle Bark Scale

  • Crape Myrtle Bark Scale

  • Elongate Hemlock Scale

  • Euonymus Scale

  • European Elm Scale

  • Fletcher Scale

  • Japanese Maple Scale

  • Lecanium Scale

  • Lecanium Scale

  • Lecanium Scale

  • Magnolia Scale

  • Magnolia Scale

  • Maskell Scale

  • Maskell Scale

  • Oystershell Scale

  • Spruce Bud Scale

  • White Prunicola Scale

  • White Prunicola Scale

  • White Prunicola Scale

So…what can be done about scale insects in landscape plants? As with all of our integrated pest management (IPM) programs:

  1. Inspect and diagnose to determine which pest species is causing the problem.
  2. Assess the extent of the damage.
  3. Determine the need for intervention.
  4. Apply least-damaging control measures.
  5. Evaluate results and determine the need for follow-up treatment.

With scale insects, there are challenges at each of these steps, from identification of the pest responsible to recognizing an array of plant injury symptoms and from determining the need for intervention to understanding what management tactics will provide the greatest control at the time of application.

Contact Burkholder PHC for Treatment of Scale Insects in Landscape Plants

Although scale insects are a very odd and very primitive group of pests, their behavior and physiology can make them very hard to control, prone to explosive population growth, and very damaging to landscape plants. We would recommend a professional evaluation this winter and spring to determine if properties are currently infested with or at risk of infestation with scale or other pests. The evaluation is free…and proper treatments can bring back the health, vigor, and curb appeal of any landscape. If you are not happy with the appearance of your landscape plants, give us a call!

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How Deer Repellent Keeps Your Property Safe

We all love reindeer, but when local deer begin destroying property, some sort of deer repellent action may need to be taken. The deer population in Pennsylvania is estimated to be around 1.5 million, so much that you have probably seen deer around your neighborhood, especially if you live in a rural or suburban area. And as much as we enjoy seeing deer in nature, the damage to your lawn and property by those same deer can be costly. Burkholder PHC will outline a few ways deer can damage your yard and how particular repellent methods can help.

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How Do Deer Destroy Lawns?

Deer damage lawns in two primary ways: feeding and antler-rub. These methods damage properties in different ways and may require other solutions to resolve.

Deer Feeding

One of the more common ways deer can damage properties, and why homeowners should utilize deer repellent, is feeding. Deer can and will eat various plants and trees in one’s yard: grass, flowers, fruits, vegetables, leaves; deer will even eat twigs and bark. While deer eating your plants is an obvious problem, a byproduct of their feeding is another type of damage called “browsing.” Browsing is the damage that deer causes by tearing, stomping, and compacting soil when they are scavenging for food.


During winter, male deer rub their antlers on trees to scrape off the velvet-like cover on their antlers to make way for a new cover in spring. The result of antler-rub is vertical scrapes and shredded bark on trees. This damage exposes the cambium, the layer that resides between the inner and outer bark. Cambium helps nutrients move throughout trees, and having this layer exposed to weather, pests, and diseases can harm your trees.

Deer in a Yard | Deer repellent | Burkholder Plant Health Care
Fawn eating grass in field | deer repellent | Burkholder Plant Health Care

How Deer Repellent Programs Can Help

To make sure that your property is safe from feeding, browsing, and antler-rub damage, some level of deer repellent may be necessary. Below are some methods we can use to prevent deer from intruding on and damaging your property.

  • To protect plants from deer feeding, agents that change the taste/texture profile of the plants can condition them to stop eating and avoid your plants entirely.
  • For browsing, physical barriers can prevent deer from entering certain areas of a property, like a flower bed or the boundaries of the property itself.
  • Metal or plastic trunk sleeves or wraps around trees can help stop antler-rub, especially young or newly planted trees, along with special soaps and odor deterrents to push deer to other, unprotected trees.

Each of these measures also changes depending on the season. For example, the tactics for fall and winter deer repellent may differ from spring and summer, when controlling deer behavior can be more manageable.

Burkholder PHC has a specialty program to help property owners protect their landscapes. Our program will be running from now until February 2022. If you are interested in our program, reach out to us today.

Contact Burkholder for Deer Repellent Services

If you need deer repellent and want to keep your property safe from deer, contact Burkholder PHC. We have years of experience helping homeowners protect their yards from various pests, including deer, insects, and many plant diseases. Our plant health care team is highly qualified and knowledgeable about all aspects of plant health care issues and solutions. We will work with you, inspecting your property to determine the best course of action to keep your plants healthy and beautiful. Contact us today for more information about our services and how we can help you.

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What Are Girdling Roots?

The roots of a tree are vital to the health and appearance of that tree. Roots provide nutrients, water, stability, and more to keep trees alive and healthy, and any issues that negatively affect roots, in turn, affect trees. Girdling roots is one of the most common issues that trees in urban environments run into and can be a serious problem if left untreated. Below we discuss what root girdling is, what the signs are, and what you can do.

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What Are Girdling Roots?

Girdling roots occur when the tree roots circle and coil around the base of the trunk rather than spreading outwards. Think about the effect of wearing a belt that is too tight around your waist and you get the idea of what tree roots do when girdled. Girdling restricts the flow of water and nutrients to the tree, making the tree weaker and more unstable. While maple and linden trees seem the most susceptible, girdling can happen to nearly any tree.

What Causes Root Girdling?

Girdling roots are a common problem for trees in urban environments due to the factors those trees face that trees in nature avoid and those issues are related to a lack of space for proper root growth. Improper planting or transplanting is a significant cause of root girdling. If a tree is in a container or burlap for too long, the roots will eventually circle the trunk or container. If those roots are also not loosened during the planting process, the roots become girdled.

Backyard with trees and maintained landscape | Girdling Roots | Burkholder Brothers

The same issue can occur when a tree is planted in a hole that is too small: the roots have nowhere to spread and need to encircle the tree to maintain growth, which leads to girdling roots. Pieces of the planting container or other debris in the planting hole can also cause girdling. Heavily compacted soil and proximity to foundations, curbs, and other obstructions (which can hinder root growth) are common causes for root girdling. So because the issue is happening to the roots, you might think that spotting signs of root girdling could be difficult.

Front yard of house with trees and maintained landscape | Girdling Roots | Burkholder Brothers

Signs of Root Girdling

Spotting root girdling is relatively easy, as plenty of signs can indicate that a tree has girdled roots. The most obvious sign is an abnormal trunk flare. A tree trunk typically flares out and widens at the ground, but if a tree has girdled roots, the trunk may appear straight or narrow, looking more similar to a telephone pole than a tree. Roots circling above the soil line may also indicate girdling, as can sunscald or frost cracks visible on the trunk.

Because girdling roots prevent trees from getting enough water and nutrients, other possible signs include the following:

  • Thin or sparse canopy
  • Die-back in the upper tree canopy
  • Wilting, scorched, off-colored (yellow), or smaller than average leaves
  • Early fall color and leaf drop

What You Can Do About Girdling Roots

The best solution for treating root girdling in your trees is to contact a landscape professional. Girdled roots can be removed, but removing them yourself may cause damage to the main stem. An experienced plant health care professional or certified arborist will know the proper technique to minimize damage. In severe cases, girdling compromises a tree’s stability, and as a result, the tree may need to be removed. Preventing root girdling involves knowing the best planting methods, from digging the right sized hole to knowing where to mulch, all of which plant health care professionals know.

Contact Burkholder for Landscape & Plant Care

If you want to keep your trees healthy and prevent girdling roots, contact Burkholder. We offer many landscaping services such as plant health care, irrigation, landscape design, and more. Our passionate team of landscape professionals has years of experience designing and maintaining refined landscapes in the Main Line area. For more information about our services, request a free consultation today.

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FAQs About Plant Health Care

Homeowners approach us about plant health care, wondering precisely what services are involved and how those services benefit them. While the name sounds simple at first, plant health care encapsulates a wide range of different landscape maintenance techniques and plant health maintenance methods. Homeowners benefit from plant health care services in numerous ways. We have gathered some FAQs about plant health care to help people understand what exactly plant health care is, what is involved, and how they benefit.

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What Is Plant Health Care?

Plant health care (PHC) is a comprehensive, total care solution for evaluating, treating, and maintaining the health of all plant life on a property. More than simply making sure plants get enough water or fertilizer, plant health care takes a holistic approach to plant health. One of the duties of a landscape professional or plant health care specialist is to create a landscaping and care plan that ensures all plants have their needs met. Another objective of plant health care is to develop and maintain the proper growing environment for all plants so that landscaping professionals and specialists can prevent and more efficiently resolve health issues.

Why Is Plant Health Care Important or Needed?

Close-up photo of diseased leaf | FAQs about Plant Health Care | Burkholder Brothers

Plant health care is essential for a few reasons. One reason is that keeping your plants healthy maintains their beauty, making your landscape more attractive, more usable, and more enjoyable to use and admire. Another reason is that by improving or sustaining the health of every plant in a landscape, the beauty and value of said landscape remain consistently high, which is essential if you are interested in keeping high property values. Plant health care also emphasizes preventing any issues with your plants, which means fewer landscaping problems for you in the future.

Your landscape is an investment as much as a place for your family to use and enjoy. Fixing or remediating any issues that arise with your plants’ health is more costly than preventive care. With plant health care, you are protecting a valuable investment.

What Is Involved in Plant Health Care?

One of the common FAQs about plant health care that we hear is “what is involved in plant health care?” As stated before, plant health care is a comprehensive, holistic approach, and each landscape is unique. Therefore, the specific services within a plant health care plan differ for each homeowner. Some homeowners may have severe pest or plant disease issues, while others might have problems with their soil. At Burkholder PHC, we offer many different plant health care services that can resolve whichever issues your landscape is facing.

These services include the following:

  • Pest Management
  • Soil Care
  • Cultural Management
  • Weed Management
  • Biological Control
  • Growth Regulation
  • Deer Browse Deterrents
  • Diagnostics

Each of these services has its own services or actions covering a broad range of issues homeowners and their landscapes may face.

Photo of landscape professional performing corrective pruning | FAQs about Plant Health Care | Burkholder Brothers

Contact Burkholder PHC for Plant Health Care Services

If you have any other FAQs about plant health care that you want the answers for, contact Burkholder PHC. Our team has up-to-date knowledge of the latest and best practices for plant health and landscape design. The passionate and experienced specialists at Burkholder will work with you to create a beautiful and healthy landscape. For a free consultation or more information about our services, contact us today.

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What You Need To Know About the Spotted Lanternfly

What is the spotted lanternfly? Chances are if you live in Pennsylvania, you already have seen this insect. The spotted lanternfly is an invasive species native to China and other Southeast Asian countries. The pest was discovered in Berks County in 2014 and has spread throughout Pennsylvania and neighboring states: north to Massachusetts, south to North Carolina, and west to Indiana and Michigan (See the Spotted Lanternfly distribution map for the mid-atlantic area). The spotted lanternfly feeds on many different plants and can cause significant damage to some species. Many homeowners have reported sightings and damage due to this pest, both direct damage by feeding and secondary damage due to excessive sooty mold formation on lanternfly excrement (honeydew). Here is what you need to know about this invasive species and what you can do if you spot the colorful insect around your property.

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What You Need to Know About the Spotted Lanternfly

The spotted lanternfly is currently reported to be found in 34 Pennsylvania counties and can build to astounding numbers when left unmanaged. While many Pennsylvania residents have spotted this invasive species on their landscapes, we have some information to help those who want to keep their landscape free from invasive species.


Adult spotted lanternflies can be identified from their coloration and bodies. The insect has grayish wings with black spots, and the tips are black and gray, while the bodies are black. When flying, spotted lanternflies will show vibrant red hind wings. Adults are around 1 inch long and a half-inch wide with wings folded. They can jump several feet when startled or approached.

You can also identify the pest via their egg masses or nymph stage. Egg masses are typically found on tree bark on the underside of scaffold branches and occasionally on other smooth surfaces such as rocks, outdoor furniture, and even vehicles. The mass is usually around 1 inch long and a half to three-quarters of an inch wide, with a gray-brown, mud-like covering. Spotted lanternfly nymphs are much smaller than adults, only about 1/8 to 1/2 an inch long (depending on instar), but have distinct coloration: initially black with white spots and wingless, developing red patches and white spots as they mature.

Spotted lanternfly on leaf | spotted lanternfly | Burkholder Brothers
Spotted lanternflies clustered on tree | spotted lanternfly | Burkholder Brothers

Behavior & Problems

Spotted lanternflies feed on plant sap, and at a high population, this can cause significant damage to an area’s plant life. While known to feed on over 70 different plants, spotted lanternflies have shown a strong preference for the tree of heaven, or ailanthus tree, as well as grapevines, maple trees, black walnut, birch, willow, and styrax. Feeding on tree and plant sap can cause wilting, leaf curling, and dieback. As the spotted lanternfly feeds on plant sap, the insect excretes a sugary substance called “honeydew,” which can attract bees, wasps, other insects and promotes the growth of sooty mold, which causes further damage to plants.

To help you better identify the plant pest, here are the months that each life occurs.

  • Egg masses: The invasive pest will usually lay eggs from September to November, and lanternfly spend the winter as eggs.
  • Nymphs: Nymphs will first hatch around May to June and mature until around July to September.
  • Adults: July to September is when most spotted lanternflies have matured into adults; mating and egg laying can continue until December.

The insect has become so prevalent that Pennsylvania has put affected counties under quarantine to stop the movement and slow the insect’s spread to new areas within or out of the current quarantine zone. The quarantine involves traveling and transporting outdoor items.

What You Can Do

So if you see any spotted lanternfly or signs of its damage on your property, contact Burkholder Plant Health Care (PHC). Burkholder PHC treats spotted lanternflies as part of our plant health care program. Our plant health care program emphasizes proper diagnosis and precise treatment, using only state-of-the-art, research-backed methods and equipment. We also utilize various pest management and control processes to keep your landscape free of invasive, harmful pests.

Learn About The Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine in PA

Additional Spotted Lanternfly Resources

For more information about spotted lanternfly issues in Pennsylvania, you may wish to visit the following resource links.

Cooperative State Program Homepage

Cooperative State Program Map

Pennsylvania Quarantine Details/Updates

Pennsylvania Quarantine Map

Mid-Atlantic SLF Distribution Map

Contact Burkholder Brothers for Plant Health Care Services

If you want to keep your landscape beautiful, healthy, and free of spotted lanternfly, contact Burkholder Brothers for a consultation. Our team of landscape professionals has decades of experience designing, building, and maintaining refined landscapes for Main Line residents. We have up-to-date knowledge of the latest and best practices on plant health and landscape design. The passionate and experienced specialists at Burkholder will work with you to create your dream landscape. For more information on our services, contact us today.

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What Is Beneficial Insect Release?

As homeowners continue to look for ways to keep their landscapes beautiful, one particular solution has been growing in recent years: beneficial insect release. Beneficial insect release is when plant health care experts use insects rather than chemicals to control and manage pest populations. Pests can cause significant damage to a landscape, and releasing certain insects is an effective means of reducing pest populations (and their subsequent damage to trees and plants) while minimizing chemicals. Here is an explanation of what beneficial insects are and when they are used.

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What Is Involved in Beneficial Insect Release?

As stated above, beneficial insect release is a biological control method based on using insects rather than other substances like chemicals. The idea is to target pest populations by releasing their natural predators within a landscape to control the specific pest population, minimizing the harm done to your plants. Certain insects are also either neutral or beneficial to particular ecosystems, which is part of what makes releasing beneficial insects work.

For example, praying mantises are harmless to plants and people and feed on aphids: small, sap-sucking insects that can damage plants and leaves. So a homeowner can have praying mantises released in their landscapes to protect their gardens from aphids.

When is Beneficial Insect Release Used?

Beneficial insect release is an augmentative biological control, meaning that helpful insects are often used as part of a more extensive plant health care program rather than the sole method for pest control. In terms of populations, low to mid-level populations of pests can be controlled by beneficial insects. Below are a few examples of beneficial insects and the pests these insects target.

  • Green lacewing: Aphids, Whitefly, Leafhoppers, Mealybugs
  • Ladybug: Aphids, Mealybugs, Soft Scale, Whitefly
  • Praying mantis: Caterpillars, Flies, Grasshoppers, Aphids

Praying mantis on flower | beneficial insect release | Burkholder Brothers
Lady beetle on a blade of grass | beneficial insect release | Burkholder Brothers

Releasing beneficial insects is often used in landscapes with plants prone to injury from mites and aphids. Beneficial insects are also used for plants or landscapes sensitive to potentially harmful pesticides or those who prefer organic, natural methods of maintaining their landscapes.

The timing of a beneficial insect release is also crucial to its effectiveness. Praying mantises, for instance, need to be released via egg mass in March, as early spring is when the mantises will start to hatch and can begin feeding on pests. Other insects can be released as adults, but the timing is just as important. Other factors include the pests damaging a landscape and the surrounding plants and the environment’s overall conditions. Overall, beneficial insects should be part of a larger plan to help balance your landscape’s ecosystem and maintain its beauty and health.

Contact Burkholder Brothers for Plant Health Care Services

If you want to keep your landscape free of harmful pests or are interested in beneficial insect release, contact Burkholder Brothers for a consultation. Our team of highly qualified, passionate landscape professionals has up-to-date knowledge of the latest and best plant health care practices. Our specialists and account managers will work with you to maintain your landscape’s beauty and value. For more information on our services, contact us today.

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Plant Care 101 from Burkholder PHC

The most efficient approach to protecting your landscape and plant health is through consistent maintenance and care. Our experts are offering some Plant Care 101 -information about preventive measures and building resiliency within plants. Plant care is also comprehensive and includes several different areas of landscaping and horticulture.

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Aspects of Plant Care 101

Our Plant care 101 covers several different aspects of plant health care. Plant health care is a comprehensive solution focused on maintaining plant health and beauty. Breaking it down into a few core ideas will help you better understand a plant health care program’s scope. Here are some aspects of plant care.

Pest Management

Pests cause numerous problems for your landscape, harming your plant life, curb appeal, and property values. Pest management helps mitigate pest populations and damage. Landscape professionals take different approaches to pest management.

  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM) uses pest control applications based on risk as determined by a plant health care professional, rather than general treatments at the time of year pests appear on home gardens or landscapes.
  • Targeted Pest Management (TPM) is a pest control approach based on a specific pest’s timing and a particular plant/s susceptibility.

Other forms of pest management involve managing and removing invasive species (pests that affect human or animal health) and using organic control methods rather than chemicals.

Soil Health

Spotted lanternfly on leaf | plant care 101 | Burkholder Brothers

Healthy soil care and management are fundamental aspects of plant care 101. The soil on your property provides your plants with water, nutrients, oxygen, and space for growth. As a result, plant care specialists and professionals need to properly analyze soil to learn the surrounding trees’ and plants’ exact needs.

Soil also needs the proper fertilizer based on the season (for example, soil needs a more potassium-based fertilizer in spring). Landscape professionals need to be keenly aware of the complexities of soil, and provide meticulous care and treatment to ensure a robust and healthy landscape.

Properly Water New Plants and Established Plants -Plant Bed Irrigation - Burkholder Landscape

Weed Management

Managing weeds on a property is another important aspect of plant care and includes different approaches to accomplish its goals. Pre-emergent weed control focuses on removing weeds before they have a chance to grow. This preventive approach to weed management is generally performed during the fall or winter before weeds have germinated.

Post-emergent weed control is the opposite approach: removing visible weeds during the spring or summer. Certain weeds are also invasive species and can be a significant problem to the native plant life.

Other Areas of Plant Care

Some other plant care 101 topics include the following:

  • Biological Control: Using beneficial insects to target and control pests.
  • Cultural Management: Tools or methods that modify a plant’s environment to suit the specific needs of the plant.
  • Disease Management: Managing diseased trees and plants.

Contact Burkholder Brothers for Plant Health Care Services

If you want more Plant Care 101 to keep your landscape healthy, contact Burkholder Brothers for a consultation. Our team of passionate landscape professionals has decades of experience maintaining refined landscapes in Main Line Philadelphia communities. The team has up-to-date knowledge of the most effective plant health care practices. We have specialists who will work with you to sustain your landscape’s beauty. For more information on our services, contact us today.

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Burkholder Introduces New Plant Health Care Department

Malvern, PA – April 12, 2021 – Burkholder Brothers announces the opening of a new plant health care department called Burkholder PHC. This new department will work hand in hand with the Burkholder Landscape design, build and maintenance teams that have been servicing the Delaware valley for the past 30 years. New plant health care services will include all aspects of pest management, soil care, biological control, cultural management, deer browse deterrents, and growth regulation.

“Plant health care is a complex science. We have developed program options, field personnel and equipment to deliver science based, state of the art programs to manage the problems caused by challenging weather patterns and new invasive insects and diseases,” said owner, Barry Burkholder.

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Starker Wright, the company’s new Plant Health Care Manager noted that “the environmental conditions of this year have made soil disease and pests a greater threat than usual.”

He also mentioned the cicada emergence that will occur in June for the first time in 17 years, warning, “this emergence alone is one of the most profound threats to landscape trees that any of us will experience.”

The company is currently offering free consultations. The offer encourages Main Line residents to learn about their services while receiving an accurate diagnosis of their landscape plant health issues and exploring the programs that will protect families and pets from insects that bite, sting and can spread illness.

Starker Wright, Burkholder Plant Health Care Manager | Burkholder PHC

About Burkholder PHC

Burkholder PHC is a new branch of Burkholder Brothers Landscaping. The company emphasizes proper diagnosis and precise treatment with state-of-the-art, research-backed methods and equipment. The specialists are educated, trained, experienced, and certified to manage all insect and disease pests, soil chemistry, and plant physiological problems to deliver genuine, lasting results. Burkholder PHC has the resources necessary to deliver the attention to detail and professional care that every resident’s landscape deserves.

About Burkholder Brothers Inc.

Burkholder Brothers has been in business for 25 years and provides an “all inclusive” landscape business for Main Line Philadelphia residents. The company does all aspects of landscaping; from designing outdoor living areas, hardscapes and softscapes; to installing the various pieces of the design, such as patios, outdoor kitchens, and outdoor lighting; to finally maintaining the landscapes with comprehensive maintenance programs.

For more information regarding the new plant health care programs or Burkholder Landscape’s other services, call (610) 558-2678 or visit the Burkholder website:

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Types of Plant Pests in PA

Many homeowners in Pennsylvania have spent a lot of time and money ensuring their landscapes are pristine and healthy. Sometimes, however, certain pests can disrupt or damage those landscapes. Pests can harm both the appearance and health of trees, flowers, shrubs, and any other plant life on properties. Here are some of the various types of plant pests in PA.

2 Major Invasive Species in PA

Two particular plant pests in PA have caused significant damage to residents’ landscapes: the spotted lanternfly and the emerald ash borer. Both of these insects are invasive species originating in Asia. These pests have rapidly spread along the east coast of the United States and are significant threats to Pennsylvania’s plant life.

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Spotted Lanternfly

The spotted lanternfly is a plant hopping species first discovered in the U.S. in 2014 that has since spread to many eastern states. These pests have light gray outer wings, black and red inner wings, and black bodies. Spotted lanternflies feed on and damage primarily the ailanthus or “tree of heaven” by sucking the sap from stems, leaves, or trunks and excreting a sugar-rich sticky liquid called “honeydew.” By sucking the fluid from a tree, spotted lanternflies deprive them of nutrients, which can hinder growth and eventually lead to death.

Emerald Ash Borer

Like spotted lanternflies, the emerald ash borer is another invasive species from Asia that has rapidly become one of the major plant pests in PA. This wood-boring beetle has a metallic green body. The beetles feed on ash trees and lay larvae that burrow underneath the bark of ash trees. The larvae feed on the conductive tissue (phloem) inside to cut off nutrients to the tree. Once the larvae become adults, they bore back through the bark and spread to other ash trees.

Spotted lanternflies on tree | plant pests in PA | Burkholder Brothers
Close-up of diseased leaf | plant pests in PA | Burkholder Brothers

Other Plant Pests in PA

Spotted lanternflies and emerald ash borers are 2 of the most significant plant pests in PA due to how quickly both species have spread and caused damage throughout the region. Homeowners should be aware of other pests that can cause issues for their plants and landscaping.

Tree Pests

These pests pose a particular threat to trees in Pennsylvania.

  • Gypsy moths feed primarily on oak leaves but can eat other species of tree leaves, defoliating and hurting trees’ health and appearance.
  • Hemlock woolly adelgid threatens Pennsylvania’s state tree, the eastern hemlock, by sucking sap from the tree, similar to damage by spotted lanternfly.
  • The Asian Longhorned Beetle damages maple, alder, birch, or elm trees, in a manner similar to the way emerald ash borer damages ash trees.

Garden Pests

Other pests target flowers and plants within a landscape, making your gardens or flower beds look unhealthy.

  • Aphids are tiny green insects that feed on leaves and flowers, taking away essential nutrients from plants and making leaves curl and yellow.
  • Magnolia scale feeds on magnolia plants, reducing foliage and flower production, causing twig and branch dieback, and attracting other pests through honeydew.

Contact Burkholder Brothers for Landscaping Services

If you want to keep your landscape safe from plant pests in PA, contact Burkholder Brothers. Burkholder Brothers provides plant health care services and has been maintaining and designing fine landscapes throughout the Main Line area for decades. Our team of experienced and qualified landscape and plant health care professionals can control pests in your landscape and maintain the health and beauty of your property. For more information on our services, contact us today.

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