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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Wednesday Sick Plant Clinic at the Market

Heat, drought, insects, disease, and more heat are a substantial line-up for plant decline.  Just as we are getting into productive gardens or colorful flower displays, problems seem to hit like a brick. Symptoms of insect damage, disease, or environmental stress can all look similar.  Determining the cause of the problem is the first obstacle to get a plant back in good health.

The Sick Plant Clinic, occurring at the Wednesday afternoon Emporia Farmers Market on June 18 at 5:00 pm, is a place to bring your ailing plants for information on diagnoses and treatment.  Travis Carmichael, horticulture agent for K-State Research and Extension - Lyon County, will be there to answer your questions about plant decline, insect damage, yellowing leaves, stunted or distorted growth, or dieback. If you are unsure what a plant is, bring it by for identification.

To participate, bring a representative sample which would include a portion of the plant showing the transition of healthy tissue to the problem tissue. For insect identification, bring the insect as well as the damage being caused.  If it is not feasible to bring in a sample, such as in the case of a tree trunk, pictures or detailed information will help. There is no charge for this educational event.

Try to answer the following questions about your ailing plant before bringing it to the Sick Plant Clinic.  This information will help identify the problem.

1. Kind of plant- Variety
2. How long has it been established in its present location?  I.e. Has it been recently transplanted?
3. Exposure;   N - S - E - W- full sun or shade?
4. What is the nature of the soil?  Tight clay?  Drainage?
5. When did the problem first appear?  Has it happened before?
6. Are any other plants in the vicinity similarly affected?
7. What part of the plant was affected first?  Top or bottom?  Which side?
8. Has there been any construction near the plant?    How recently?
9. Have underground utilities been installed or replaced near the plant recently?
10. Is the soil around the plant subject to foot or vehicular traffic that could lead to compaction?  Is there pavement near the plant?
11. Have there been any weed killers used nearby?  If so, what and when?  Has salt or other ice melting material been used nearby?
12. What are the symptoms that have appeared?  How have they progressed?  Is there any pattern of development?
13. What program of watering and fertilizing has been followed?
14. Have there been any fungicides or insecticides used on the plant?  If so, what and when?
15. Is there any evidence of mechanical damage to the plant (i.e. lawn mower/nylon cord trimmer)?
16. Are there any suspicious insects present?  What do they look like?
17. Try to bring as much of the plant as possible, and as fresh as possible.

For more information on the Sick Plant Clinic, call the Extension office at 620-341-3220.