What is plant health?
Plants provide about 80 percent of food for humans and are the only source of nutrition for livestock. Plant health refers to the well being of the plants in an area as well as the health of the ecosystem in which it is habituated. This includes the protection of the plants and the legal framework that helps in controlling the pest infestations and other pathogens. In a healthy plant the leaves are firm and the flowers, fruits, root systems are well established. They are not pest infested or disease filled. Pests and diseases can affect the plants and their signs can include change in color of leaves, wilting or curling leaves, disformed fruits and flowers and death of roots and stems.
Any damage caused to the plants will reduce the efficiency of photosynthesis and directly effect the output of the plants. Pests can directly harm the plants and show external signs. The most common pests found are snails, caterpillars and white butterflies. Diseases however, are caused by bacteria, fungus or viruses and they may not show direct external signs but they interfere with the plant growth and development process.
Why is plant health important?
Plant health is the most important factor that largely impacts food security.
• Over 10 percent of harvest is lost due to damage by pests globally and food production is attacked by over 1,000 species of pests. With a proper implementation of plant health about 50 percent of the plant yield can be saved.
• Positive plant health promotes global food trade as it directly affects food accessibility, availability and surplus that promote the import and export of crop yields.
• Plant health also reduces the risk of food safety in consumable crops and horticulture plants. Having impactful plant health measures in place can promote food security and safety making the crops better for human consumption.
• Plant health provides financial security to farmers and contributes to food affordability as the losses incurred by farmers due to poor health of plants is minimized. By reducing pest damage and effective use of pest management solution, plant health can be boosted and the net economic benefit for farmers can be increased drastically.
Plant health equipment’s:
There are various plant health care steps that can be followed by farmers to reduce pest attacks and increase the quality and quantity of the crop yields. Framing equipment’s like groundskeepers, diameter tapes, tree injectors, root control systems and inspection drills can be used by farmers to reduce, measure and control the chances of pest attacks. It is easy to predict the type of infestations that may occur based on the ecosystem, genetics of the plants and other external factors that are generally well known by farmers.
Creating a toolbox for plant care is the easiest way to maximize plant health. The toolbox can contain pumps, nozzles, hose’s, measuring cups and cylinders, pesticide and fertilizer spray cans and any other equipment that may be required for the specific plant.
Proper trimming and chipping is also essential and tools specific to these tasks can be commonly found. Identifying the host plant from which the infestations have been initiated can be a crucial step in monitoring the overall plant health of all the multiple crops present in one field.