What Could Be Wrong With My Plant?
Just about every day at Green Giant, we are asked, “What’s wrong with my tree (or shrub) and what can you do to fix it?” Answering these questions correctly is often more complicated than it may seem.
First, there can be what we refer to as “cultural” issues. Cultural problems are things such as a lawn mower hitting and damaging the base of the tree, too much mulch piled up around the trunk or a multitude of other occurrences adversely affecting the plant’s health. Click Here to read our 21 Ways to Kill a Tree Blog.
In addition to cultural problems, diseases and insects are often the cause of a plant’s decline. In reality however, most often, there is more than one problem affecting a plant that is declining.
Tree Insect & Disease Control: Expert Diagnosis
Properly diagnosing a disease or insect is the first step in successfully addressing a plant’s health problem. It is also very important to get the diagnosis right. Without a proper diagnosis, the control methods can be a total waste of time, effort and money, and plants that could have been saved, may die. Sometimes it is too late to save the plant that is exhibiting symptoms but, a proper diagnosis can be vital to preventing further plant losses. Very often, people will just assume (or hope) any insect or disease control product will cure whatever the problem may be. This is not the case.
During the diagnosis of a plant health problem, Green Giant specialist will look for the causal agent (the actual disease or pest). These can be things such as a fungus, mycelia, an insect or mite (often too small to see with the naked eye), insect frass (poop) or specific chewing patterns. When possible, examining the causal agent is typically the best resource for identifying the problem.
However, by the time we get involved, the causal agent is often no longer on the plant. When this is the case, Green Giant will also look at the symptoms to help diagnose the problem.
These symptoms can include:
- Plant parts that are under-developed (e.g., stunting, lack of chlorophyll production, malformed fruit or leaves, etc.)
- Plant parts that are over-developed (e.g., excessive flowering, gals, excessive seed production, etc.)
- Dead or dying plant parts
- Abnormal appearance of the plant material.
After going through these types of processes, a Green Giant arborist is most often able to determine, with a reasonable degree of certainty, what is causing the plant’s health to decline. At this point, a plan to correct the problem is developed and, with the customer’s consent, implemented.