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Burkholder PHC Contributes to New Plant Health Care Discoveries and Achievements

January 27, 2024
Starker Wright, Plant Health Care Manager | Burkholder Plant Health Care

Malvern, Pennsylvania – January 27, 2024– Burkholder PHC has recently been recognized for several notable Plant Health Care discoveries and occurrences. Starker Wright, manager of Burkholder PHC, has been directly involved in the following:

Rose rosette in bright pink roses - Burkholder PHC

Rescue treatment for eriophyid/rust mite damage

Privet, rose, pear, spruce, and hemlock commonly show bronzing of foliage that has been attributed to tip/twig blights and foliar diseases, but fungicide treatments have not been effective in halting disease progression. In 2023, Burkholder PHC identified eriophyid/rust mites on affected plants (particularly privet and spruce), and treatment effects have been spectacular.

Formal identification (with Penn State Insect Identification Lab) of Philoeosinus canadensis

Philoeosinus canadensis is a tiny borer beetle that has killed stressed ‘Green Giant’ arborvitae trees in the Main Line area for several years. This is the first identification of this beetle in Pennsylvania, more commonly found along the U.S.-Canadian border from Maine to Michigan. With identification, Burkholder PHC developed a management plan for high-risk arborvitae trees before the damage becomes irreversible.

Roses with full season management by Burkholder PHC - plant health care discoveries

Full-season management plan for roses

Roses can be a spectacular landscape plant but are among Main Line’s most pest-damage-prone plant groups and commonly become an eyesore by late spring. Slug sawflies, Japanese beetles, deer, rabbits, spider mites, rust mites, thrips, aphids, scale insects, and a wide range of plant diseases severely damage roses yearly. However, with attentive and specific management tactics, roses can be kept clean for the growing season, ensuring continuous blooming through fall.

Hybrid maple tree with leopard moth damage - Burkholder Plant Health Care discoveries

Formal identification (with Penn State Insect Identification Lab) of Zeuzera pyrina

Burkholder PHC identified the Zeuzera pyrina (leopard moth) infesting and eventually killing landscape hybrid maples.

About Starker Wright

Mr. Wright has extensive knowledge and practice in the field of plant health care, beginning with a degree from the University of Massachusetts in agroecology. Mr. Wright’s experience includes

  • serving for 8 years as the field coordinator of the University of Massachusetts Tree Fruit Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program
  • developing and testing biologically based management techniques for key native and invasive pests of tree fruit with the Insect Behavior and Ecology Program at the Appalachian Fruit Research Station with USDA-Agricultural Research Service in West Virginia
  • authoring and co-authoring over 80 research and extension publications, focusing on integration of biological, cultural, and chemical management of tree health
  • working with Bartlett Tree Experts in Dublin, Pennsylvania as a Plant Health Care Specialist, Arborist Representative, and Local Office Manager
  • working as Plant Health Care manager for Burkholder PHC in Malvern, PA
Starker Wright, Plant Health Care Manager | Burkholder Plant Health Care

See Burkholder Plant Health Care 2022 Discoveries and Achievements

  • Federal quarantine identification of white rust on chrysanthemum, confirmed by USDA-APHIS.
  • First active sampling program in Pennsylvania for vascular streak dieback disease in redbud.
  • First identification of crape myrtle bark scale in Pennsylvania, confirmed by Penn State Insect ID Lab.
  • First identification of camphor shot borer damage in hemlocks, confirmed by Penn State Insect ID Lab.
  • Submission of field research article “Pre-Emergent Control of Spotted Lanternfly” in collaboration with Bartlett Tree Experts.
  • Continuing research with Bartlett Tree Experts and University of Maryland on potential impact of native predators on spotted lanternfly eggs.

About Burkholder Plant Health Care

Burkholder Plant Health Care is a sister company to Burkholder Landscape, a local company that has been a full-service landscape designer caring for plants and landscapes since 1996. The company has a staff of plant specialists that is 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’s program emphasizes proper diagnosis and precise treatment, along with state-of-the-art, research-backed methods and equipment. The team strives to maintain a close relationship of open and reliable communication with all clients, building partnerships that will promote the development of beautiful, long-lasting, healthy landscapes. For more information about recent plant health care discoveries or the company, visit their website at or call 610-426-1662.