This year, our training went virtual We trained around 120 new Master Gardeners on an interactive webinar. The main goal of the session was to sharpen the participant's observational skills and look at plant problems with an analytical mind.
One of the goals of the training is to differentiate between biotic diseases (infectious) and abiotic disorder (non-infectious). More in this article, Biotic vs. Abiotic - Distinguishing Disease Problems.
Every year, participants are puzzled by the different sizes and shapes of pathogen signs on the stations, and get to practice various terms used to describe symptoms and signs. This year we adapted the class to a virtual format. Polls and examples (photos) featured plant parts with symptoms and (with or without) signs. To learn more, see our glossary of terms on the glossary page.
Disease and disorders discussed in the training, link to resources including management recommendations
- Seasonal needle loss (natural process)
- Septoria leaf spot and blight
- Fire blight
- Tobacco rattle virus
- Manganese deficiency in Mapple Nutrient/Soil pH Imbalances
Other resources mentioned in the webinar
National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN) First Detector Program: https://firstdetector.org/
NPDN First Detector 2020 Webinar Series (recordings): https://www.firstdetector.org/contact-workshop
Especially recommended, oak wilt recording https://youtu.be/zwYIaA2rY5E
You may face plant problems, but also may help others with theirs. Be a good MG and Citizen Scientist. Avoid jumping to fast conclusions, be skeptical, and ask a lot of questions to collect clues about plant problems. Some diseases are minor while others are deadly and will have serious implications in ecosystems (forest and nature areas). Keep in mind that an accurate diagnosis of the problem will inform the management tactic to implement.
Need help with plant problems? get in touch with us at your local plant clinic.
Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Horticulture and Home Pest News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on October 16, 2020. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.