Keeping It Green

Ross Tree offers a Plant Health Care (PHC) service that takes a holistic and comprehensive approach to tree, shrub, and lawn care. In contrast, most tree companies just service trees and sometimes shrubs. We keep all the woody plants and turf in a yard green using routine monitoring, preventive treatments, and a strong working relationship with the property owner. Ross Tree promises to use the most cost-effective and environmentally sensitive practices and treatments available and us.

Why Plant Health Care Rather Than Tree Care? 

Most yard landscapes are a mix of trees, shrubs, and turf with these plants compete for water and nutrients with their intermingle roots systems. Grass fertilizers and herbicides may impact the appearance of trees. Conversely, tree pruning and treatments may affect the vitality of the underlying grass. So it is best to hire a company that does both tree and plant health care. Rather than relying on two separate companies for lawn and tree care, Ross Tree does both.

Why Hire a Tree Service Company for PHC?

Remember, the size and longevity of trees warrant special attention. You can replace garden plants in a week and a grass lawn in a season, but it takes decades to replace a tree. So it is best to contact a professional tree company because of their tree expertise. With Ross Tree, homeowners are getting three certified arborists and three Qualified Supervisors who take a holistic approach to the vitality of the woody plants and turf in their yards.

How Do You Decide Which Tree Company to Hire?

One way for homeowners to know they are hiring a professional tree service company is to make sure they have an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist on staff. Arborists specialize in tree care and become certified by taking course work and passing a comprehensive examination. Also, check if the company is a member of both ISA and the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA). Membership shows their willingness to stay up-to-date on the latest tree care best practices. Ross Tree Company is proud of its three full-time ISA Certified Arborists and is a member of both the ISA and TCIA. Check out our handbook on Why Hire a Professional Tree Service Company.

Ross Tree’s motto is “Integrity in Action,” which means we’re committed to minimizing our impact on the environment. We offer the same level of expertise to tree insect control and lawn care. Our staff possesses the proper training and credentials to treat trees properly in the Denver area. Ross Tree has three Qualified Supervisors (QS) licensed by the Colorado Department of Agriculture to handle pesticide products. We only use the products necessary to treat your trees and nothing more.

Our Plant Health Care Services include:

According to the Colorado State University Extension, PHC consists of the following six-component prescriptive care program for your landscape.

  1. Structural Pruning – Structural pruning favors a single dominant leader that promotes tree growth around a single trunk. Weaker tree limbs get trimmed back to their strongest point or removed. Pruning encourages healthy growth and makes trees less susceptible to Denver’s unpredictable weather.
  2. Tree Selection – Thirty years ago, many Denver developments and neighborhoods planted fast-growing trees to provide shade expeditiously. Yes, Aspen, Silver Popular, and Cottonwoods trees provide shade quickly, but these trees outgrow the selected site, and their softwood easily breaks in wind and snowstorms. Most are disease-prone. Fast-growing trees will eventually disappoint homeowners because of high maintenance costs and replaced with hardy shade trees that grow well in Denver’s unpredictable weather and clay soils.
  3. Yard Cultural Practices – Culture practices in PHC mean proper watering, mulching, and fertilizing. Our arborists take each tree species’ individual needs and prescribe the best watering and fertilizing regiment to encourage vigorous growth for all the trees, shrubs, and grass on a property. What is suitable for one tree may harm the other trees in the yard or its lawn, so it takes expertise to establish a good PHC program for each yard. Check out our blog on How Lawn Care Issues Can Affect Trees.
  4. Fertilizing – Our PHC specialists inspect the woody plants and grass on a property to recognize nutrient deficiencies and prescribe the best fertilize regiment to keep them all green.
  5. Cabling and Bracing – Tree cabling and bracing improve the structural integrity of high-value trees. Additional support reduces trunk splitting and mechanical limb breakage. Our arborists make sure property owners understand the limitations and benefits of each supplemental tree support system.
  6. Integrated Pest Management – Ross Tree identifies all insects on a yard’s trees, shrubs, and lawn area and prescribes the least invasive product at the proper time to control the pests harmful to yard plants. Ross Tree Company prides itself on being a leading innovator in tree insect control. We were the first tree service company in Denver to offer tree injections, a practicable alternative to spraying trees.

What Does a PHC Program Cover?

There is no standard PHC program because no yard is the same. Be wary of any tree or lawn company with standardized PHC programs because one size does not fit all. PHC programs do have the following shared features:

  1. PHC involves monitoring tree, shrub, and lawn health. Monitoring allows Ross Tree to detect problems before they become serious.
  2. The frequency and complexity of a PHC program depend on the size and plant diversity of a yard.
  3. The PHC programs should take into consideration any landscape goals of a property owner.

Like everything in life – things happen. A heavy wind or snow storm damages trees or brown spots appear on a lawn. If we detect an issue during a monitoring visit, our arborist or PHC specialist will work with the homeowner to develop a solution. It could be as simple as adjusting irrigation frequency, so soil conditions are not too moist. If a large branch is down, we will remove it. Sometimes property owners need to choose to tolerate a disease or insect problem that only affects plants cosmetically.

What Will a PHC Program Cost? 

Ross Tree customizes PHC programs to fit each yard’s particular needs since no landscape is the same. We offer plans for specific trees or offer plans that cover the entire landscape. Comprehensive programs provide peace of mind in knowing that the program already covers treatments for most potential problems without additional charges.

Seasonal Preventative Measures


Springtime is the time that trees, shrubs, and turfgrass start to grow. As the weather warms up, fungi, bacteria, and insect pests become active, too. New plant growth is particularly vulnerable, so this is when a PHC program kicks into gear with the following activities:

  • Dormant Oil Application – Our PHC specialist spray your trees and shrubs with a protective layer of oil to drive mites and other insects away and protects the new growth when it’s most vulnerable.
  • Desiccation Prevention for Trees & Shrubs – Colorado is known for its 300 days of sun. Desiccation is an injury caused when the loss of moisture by the tree leaves exceeds the water taken in by its roots. Evergreens and some shrubs in Denver are especially susceptible to windburn and sun-scald. Ross Tree applies wax-like anti-transpirants to prevent plants from losing moisture through their foliage and help them look their best throughout the year. It is like chapstick for plants.
  • Deep Root Injections – Most trees planted in Denver are not native to the area. Our Deep Root Injection program injects water and nutrients deep into the soil to give trees an additional boost to increase vigor.
  • Lawn Care – Spring is the time for cleaning up yards and aeration. Fertilizing keeps the grass green but treats lawns for weeds and crabgrass. We re-seed any bear spots.


Insects that damage trees, shrubs, and lawns thrive during the summer. The following PHC activities keep woody plants and lawns green during the hottest months of the year:

  • Tree Injections – Most borers and beetles tree pests such as Emerald Ash Borer, Pine Beetles, Japanese Beetles, Ips Beetles, and Elm Leaf Beetles get treated in the early summer. Trunk injections ensure that only the tree receives the product, not the surrounding environment.
  • Control Sprays – The PHC program uses control spraying to manage large infestations.
  • Deep Root Injections – Trees need help to get through the hot days of the summer. Ross Tree has the equipment and water trucks to get the job done efficiently. Deep root injections get the water and nutrients down to where they are needed.
  • Lawn Care – The PHC will adjust a property’s irrigation system a keep the grass green. We treat lawns for grubs and other turf insects when fertilizing.


The following PHC activities in the fall prepare yards to survive the upcoming winter and prepare the trees and lawn to rebound in the spring:

  • Tree Pruning – Trees set their buds in the fall, so it a great time to prune out any dead wood and trim the trees to withstand Denver’s snowstorms and high winds. Healthy trees make it harder for insects to burrow inside and do damage.
  • Lawn Care – Fall is probably the most crucial time to fertilize lawns because it gives grasses all the nutrients they need to get through the winter. Fall is also an excellent time to eliminate many types of weeds.


Below are typical winter PHC activities:

  • Tree Insect Control – We use dormant oils to control tree scales common to the Denver area, such as Kermes, European Elm, and Oystershell Scales.
  • Fire Blight Treatment – Fire Blight bacteria are dormant in the winter, so winter is a great time to treat Apple, Crabapple, and Pear trees. We prune affected branches and cut out any stems with canker sores.
  • Deep Root Injections – Lack of snow cover causes winter droughts in Denver. Trees need extra water to survive. Deep root injections get water where it is required. Newly planted trees need watering each month.

PHC Programs Addresses Risks, Year-Round 

Keeping your trees, shrubs, and lawns green in Denver takes some thought and effort because of our unpredictable storms, dry weather, and clay soils. A PHC program takes care of any ongoing plant maintenance and gives homeowners peace of mind. Ross Tree schedules appointments throughout the year to do PHC maintenance. No matter what type of trees you have on your property, Ross Tree helps you care for them. For a PHC appointment, click here to fill out a request service form or call 303-871-9121 to discuss your options with Ross Tree.