June 8, 2018

Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic Update – June 8, 2018

 fungal structures (signs) of Rhizoctonia solani causing Brown patch in turf grass

The following are highlights and updates about sample submissions from fruit, vegetables, and ornamentals, and questions recently received in the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic. Visit the PIDC's Facebook page for updates and more pictures. For more information on a particular disease or insect problem listed, follow the article cited.

Preventing Herbicide Injury in the Landscape

Herbicide injury to the foliage of a birch tree.

The ISU Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic has recently received several samples from trees with symptoms of leaf cupping, petiole twisting, and lack of tissue differentiation (epinasty and deformation). Some of these cases are consistent with symptoms typical of a chemical injury, specifically growth or hormonal disruption caused by certain herbicides. 

Perennials for Cut Flowers

There are many perennial flowers that also make excellent cut flowers.  Most of the perennial flowers listed below prefer full sun and well-drained soils for best growth – and best flower production.  Exceptions include hosta and lily-of-the-valley, which prefer shady sites.

Season of Bloom

Common Name


Season of Bloom

Common Name

Conditioning Cut Flowers

Spring and summer are a great time to bring the garden indoors with cut flowers.  No prior experience is necessary to harvest flowers for bouquets.   However, to get the most out of your garden or purchased bouquets, follow the seven steps below.

First, use a sharp, clean knife or shears when cutting flowers.  You want to cut the stems cleanly without crushing them.

Training Tomatoes in the Home Garden

There are several advantages to training tomato plants in the home garden.  Training tomatoes conserves valuable garden space for gardeners with small plots.  Trained tomatoes are easier to cultivate and harvest.  Foliar disease problems are generally less severe because of better air circulation.  Plus, trained tomato plants often produce better quality fruit than those allowed to sprawl on the ground.  Training methods vary, but the three most common methods are the single stake, wire cage, and weave system. 

Single Stake

Plant Natives to Attract Beneficial Insects

Native plants list for pollinators and insect natural enemies

Pollinators and natural enemy insects play a vital role in our ecosystem. Pollinators, like honey bees and native bees, contribute an estimated $20 billion to agricultural production in the US annually. Natural enemy insects, such as lady beetles and parasitic wasps, feed on or parasitize pest insects and can reduce the need for insecticides.

News Releases

Master Gardener Search for Excellence Award Winners - Denny Schrock and Susan DeBlieck