Whether it is an indoor potted plant, shrubs in the landscape, or a bermudagrass lawn, all of us that grow plants have one common goal and that is to grow the healthiest plants possible. Sometimes, however, that is often easier said than done.
Several factors, such as weather conditions, cultural practices, or pest incidence, can lessen the quality of plants in question. Proper diagnosis is critical in identifying their problems and determining what corrective steps need to be taken. Every problem cannot be easily determined and solved in the field, but with a few helpful tools and having the right information, we can go a long way in narrowing the possibilities.
Listed are a few tips that will help determine and correct many of the problems:
1) You should be familiar with the plants you are growing and what their cultural requirements are.
2) Learn how to look for symptoms and signs of problems.
3) Keep a history of the site to track problems. Some problems, such as crabgrass invasion, white grub damage, and some turf diseases may be an annual occurrence.
4) Some pests, or the damage they cause, can be difficult to see without the aid of good diagnostic tools such as a magnifying glass, pH meter, etc.
5) Obtain reference materials that are helpful in confirming the identity of a particular pest.
6) Not every problem can be answered in the field. In some cases it may be necessary to send a sample to a diagnostic laboratory for analysis.
7) Become familiar with the remedies at your disposal such as pesticides, fertilizers, etc.
Published January 3, 2011
Dr. Wayne Wells is an Extension Professor and Turfgrass Specialist. His mailing address is Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Mail Stop 9555, Mississippi State, MS 39762. email@example.com