Insect and Disease Control

For many years spraying to suppress plant insects or diseases was considered a necessary evil to maintain a healthy landscape. The professionals at Matthew R. Foti Landscape and Tree Service Inc. want the public to know that control measures need not always be considered evil.

As professional arborists we are trained in recognition, diagnosis and control of plant insects and diseases but more important we are trained in determining which treatment is best for your situation. Although we are licensed and insured to handle and dispense approved pesticides, your personal needs may require a biorational approach with non-chemical alternatives. We also have considerable knowledge and experience in the use of soil drench or direct injection methods which treat plants systemically. Systemic treatments solve the problem of overspray, are more weather resistant and are more directed at the target problem.

Careful consideration for beneficial insects is always a concern during any treatment and this is just one more reason you need to consult a professional. The cost to treat a particular problem may exceed the value of the plant over time. This is important information that we as professional arborists feel obligated to make you aware of. Our opinion is that planting insect and disease free specimens is always your best defense. Your plant problem may only be of aesthetic concern and not a serious health problem; we are here to give you good guidance.

Systematic injection of insecticide.


All spray alternatives are effective when applied correctly and at the proper time. The major drawback is spray drift and variable results relating to weather, most notably rain although greatly improved products can be applied up to thirty minutes before rain and still be effective.

Dormant Oil is a light weight, water soluble oil applied in springtime before new growth. Dormant oil does not have toxicity but rather suffocates insects in the egg stage before they emerge. Used on a broad range of insects such as winter moth, scale and adelgid.

Chemical Insecticides do have toxicity and kill insects on contact; although very effective chemicals insecticides are not selective and can kill beneficial insects as well. Chemical insecticides need to be applied carefully to avoid drift away from target areas. Used on birch leaf miner, spruce gall and pine sawfly, ect.

Chemical Fungicides do have toxicity and are only effective when applied preventatively. Typically three sprays are required at seven to ten day intervals. Fungus is spread by spores that multiply rapidly during cold damp conditions which are typical during springtime in New England. Some fungus problems can cause premature leaf drop but are generally not a serious health threat but most often unsightly such as powdery mildew and apple scab. Other fungus problems are a serious health threat such as dogwood anthracnose, diplodia blight on austrian pines and cytospora canker on blue spruce.

Bio Agents are becoming a more acceptable approach since they do not have toxicity. Bio agents do not kill on contact and need to be ingested by insects to become fatal. The biggest advantage to bio agent is that they are safe for the environment. A bio agent called "Conserve" is the most widely accepted product on the market for winter moth and cankerworm.


Micro Injection is another tool used to combat insects and disease. We now inject insecticides, imicides, fungicides and even fertilizers. Although a bit more costly micro injection is weather proof since it is injected into the tree. Micro injection actually translocates faster in the conductive tissues of a tree during rain but generally it is fast acting (12-24 hours). Micro injection can be costly when many trees are involved often making the spray alternative more attractive.

Soil Injection - After much research we now offer a systemic product (Merit). Merit is applied at the root system of the tree which does not wound the trunk as micro injection does. Depending on insects being treated Merit must be applied two to four months prior to emergence of insects but can have a one to two year residual effect. Soil injection is a great method where overspray could be a problem.
Soil injection is probably not a good alternative if you have a shallow or artesian well since Merit has toxicity.