Pro Chat Landscape Pest Control Contractor 2.0
In The Garden – By Stephen and Kristin Pategas
In a Pro Chat, Stephen and Kristin interview a professional in a field related to the landscape industry. See April In the Garden for part one of this chat with Roi Levin.
Business Name: Environmental Pest & Lawn Services, Inc.
The Pro: Roi Levin
Service Area: Orange, Seminole, and Lake Counties
What is your background?
I immigrated to the United States from Israel in 1993. That was quite the transition! After high school, in pursuit of a career in veterinary medicine, I attended the University of Florida and earned my BS in Animal Sciences. As opportunities presented themselves, I became involved with work in the field of landscape nematology, which involves the identification and quantification of damage thresholds of parasitic roundworms in plants. As I was working with some of the finest nematologists in the country, they didn’t have to twist my arm too much when I was offered a fellowship to study and conduct research in landscape nematology. Then, one master’s degree and about 15 years later, here we are…
What can a homeowner do to decrease problems?
There are several necessities to limit problems in the landscape. On the top of the list are proper plant selection, proper spacing and planting, proper pruning, and ensuring plant-specific requirements for light, water, and oxygen are met. If these basic requirements are accomplished, then we can handle most insect and disease challenges.
What are the top two pest or disease issues?
That’s a loaded question! The potential of chinch bug damage to St. Augustine grass is probably at the top of the list for insect pests due to the high potential of rapid damage and known resistance to every insecticide class on the market today. As for disease issues, several lethal diseases of palms are hugely problematic due to their ease of spread and the lack of post-infection management options.
Are problems getting worse?
There are a handful of parasitic and pathogenic organisms that we see more frequently in landscapes. This is where plant selection and customer education are so important.
Are there problems that cannot be treated, and the plant can’t survive?
There are certain ailments that do not respond to current treatment options. It is important to understand that landscapes are comprised of plants, which have lifespans. Sometimes, certain diseases are lethal to plants, and treatments are simply not effective.
How successful is treatment with only biorational pesticide products?
Biorationals (or biopesticides as they are called by the EPA) are relatively non-toxic to people with few environmental side-effects. Their use, and the use of beneficial insects and fungi in pest management, can be very successful. That said, many of the products available are pest-specific and require frequent applications to keep pests manageable.
What is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)? Is it beneficial?
Integrated Pest Management is a multifaceted approach to managing pests and promoting healthy plants. In my opinion, IPM presents the only way to approach pest management. Aspects of IPM include promoting beneficial organisms, using least-toxic pesticides when appropriate, and establishing a threshold of acceptance to minimal pest activity and/or damage.
Hortus Oasis (FL26000315) in Winter Park is a boutique garden design company specializing in residential, commercial and specialty gardens. Stephen is a registered landscape architect and Kristin is a certified landscape designer. Contact them at Hortus Oasis (FL26000315) in Winter Park is a boutique garden design company specializing in residential, commercial and specialty gardens. Stephen is a registered landscape architect and Kristin is a certified landscape designer. Contact them at 407-622-4886/ firstname.lastname@example.org.
*All photography by Stephen G. Pategas/Hortus Oasisby