Most arborists agree that 2018 will likely be a down year for caterpillar populations.  This is great news for communities and for the health of our urban forests.  But as a business, you’ll have to look at other opportunities to replace the lost revenue from caterpillar treatments.

There are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of this year to help maintain and even grow your business!  In some cases, the same equipment you have for caterpillar treatments can be used for other treatments as well. 

Here are 5 protocols that you can be taking on this year to replace lost caterpillar treatments.

1) Growth Regulators

  • Whether it’s trees or shrubs, growth regulators can be used not just for aesthetic reasons, but also to help alleviate stress from drought, construction, and disease.
  • Shrubs are treated with a foliar application mid-May to early June.  Trees are treated with a soil application any time during the growing season.
  • Cambistat applications can return as much as $300-$400 per man hour if priced correctly

2 Fungicide Programs

  • Whether its deciduous or coniferous trees, leaf and needle disease is a constant in New England and can be found on any landscape.
  • Most diseases are treated with a three visit foliar program, and a few can be controlled with bark applications.
  • Returns on average $150-$250 per hour.

3) Soil Enhancement Programs

  • Utilizing tools like Air Spade in conjunction with good compost and fertilization programs can go a long way in maintaining tree health.
  • This is another service that can be done at any time in the growing season.
  • Fertilization can return as much as $250 per man hour.

4) Elongate Hemlock Scale

  • While everyone has been dealing with Woolly Adelgid, Elongate Scale has been aggressively spreading and killing hemlocks.
  • Bark applications of Transtect in the spring are a great way to take out the scale population, and will also get the adelgid at the same time.
  • Bark applications are a little more costly, but due to their speed of application can be very profitable.  Returns can be $200 per hour and up.

5) IPM Programs

  • Now might also be the time to incorporate true IPM programs into your service offering.
  • In this model, you should be billing clients based on time on property, not how much material you sprayed.
  • A good IPM program can return as much as $300 per hour.  More importantly, it minimizes the amount of pesticide usage, which makes it a more attractive option to some homeowners

IPM Programs

The key to adding a new protocol and making it successful is to make sure that your plant health care sales and production crews have the proper training, solutions, and support.  Rainbow has helped hundreds of companies grow their plant health care programs, and we are committed to your success.

If you have questions, need training, or would like to learn more on how you can get started, contact Rich Cartier (617)895-8640 (