April 11, 2007

Can Sick Plants Make People Sick?


I frequently give talks to gardeners, and pictures of deformed squash infected with a virus are some of my favorite shots to share. Inevitably, someone asks, "Could I catch the virus that made that plant sick?"

In most cases, the answer is no. The fungi, bacteria, viruses, and nematodes that cause disease in plants are very different from those that cause disease in humans and other animals. Eating or touching an infected plant would not infect us with the same pathogen that is making the plant sick.

Effects of Record Cold April Temperatures on Horticultural Plants


In Iowa, the weather in spring is often erratic. The weather in 2007 has been no exception. Record cold temperatures have followed the unseasonably warm weather in late March and early April. The cold April temperatures have affected plants in gardens and home landscapes. The good news is that the cold temperatures shouldn't have a long-term effect on most plants. The prognosis for trees, shrubs, perennials, vegetables, and other plants are provided below.