What's a Plant Healthcare Professional?
Pest Manager. Chief Irrigation Specialist. In the landscape industry, people’s skills can vary as much as their job titles. Have you ever contacted a professional to take care of your plants and been notified your Plant Healthcare Professional will be on his way? We talked to Tina Graver, Lawn and Plant Healthcare Coordinator at Thrive, to see what that means.
What does a PHC professional do?
TG: A plant healthcare professional is essentially the same thing in the “plant world” as your Primary Care Doctor is in the human world: a PHC specialist does ‘wellness visit’ checkups on plants to make sure that they are thriving. They diagnose issues, give prognoses, prescribe ways to culturally address issues, gives a nutrient program and write prescriptions for chemical interventions. They also serve to educate owners on what is going on or needed for those particular plants/landscapes.
What kind of education goes into that?
TG: Most PHC specialists have some kind of 2-year or 4-year degree related to horticulture, botany, biology, entomology or environmental science—many specialists have advanced degrees [and] professionals working for the extension service often hold PhDs in a related field. There are some schools that are offering PHC specific degrees now that the field is becoming more popular.
What are some duties they have on the job?
TG: They must have a vast knowledge of plant [identification], pest/disease [identification], learn how to identify cultural and nutritional abnormalities, take soil samples and plant tissue samples, understand when a chemical intervention is needed and make the safest, most effective choice for the job at hand.
What can homeowners expect from their PHC professional?
TG: Knowledge and professionalism. A PHC technician is often in an advanced role in the company. They usually have impressive educational backgrounds having significant higher education requirements. These individuals usually have a good sense of the ‘big picture’ in your landscape. The nature of the job means that they are used to working solo and interacting with many clients in a day.