Everyone who gardens has experienced the frustration of finding a diseased plant or seeing the damage done by an insect when it is too late to resolve the problem. There are two main reasons this happens: (1) our timing is off and (2) we don’t understand what we are looking for. Also, there are some situations that are not “normal,” that is, some invasive insects, plants, and diseases appear suddenly and unexpectedly. We would like to make the task of heading off garden problems a little easier by giving you some pointers and advice about where to get information and what to do about problems you may discover in your garden.
Monitoring your garden for signs of insect problems and diseases on plants can be more successful if you know what to look for and when you are likely to find it. There is extremely useful information available online that will help you in dealing with these challenges. Two of the best websites are the University of Massachusetts Landscape Message and the University of Iowa Extension Horticulture and Home Pest News. Each has its own unique approach and provides timely alerts to prepare you for current and impending problems in the garden.
University of Massachusetts Landscape Message
The University of Massachusetts publishes an online newsletter (weekly during the peak growing season, every two weeks in summer and monthly in winter) that provides useful information about: (a) Insect pests emerging during the week of publication; (b) Occurrence of diseases and potential disease problems; (c) Cultural problems and solutions; and (d) Managing pests. While the message is intended for landscapers, arborists, turf managers, and nursery growers it is useful for the home gardener, as well.
Here you will find articles on current horticulture, plant care, pest management, and common household pests written by Iowa State University Extension specialists in the Departments of Entomology, Horticulture, and Plant Pathology.