Plant Disease Clinic Unbiased Diagnoses Survey

Paula Flynn, P&S, Plant Pathology


A common reaction to the discovery of a plant health problem by a commercial grower or home gardener is to reach for a product that can amend the situation quickly.  Loss of income or aesthetic value is a valid concern.  Response without a systematic diagnosis, however, can lead to the use of products that will not improve the situation and may even contribute to the development of additional problems. 


The mission of the Plant Disease Clinic is to provide timely, unbiased information to commercial growers and home gardeners in Iowa.  Educating these clients in IPM practices is a primary goal.  In many cases, chemical control measures are not warranted to manage plant health problems, especially those caused by abiotic (nonliving) stress factors.


Diagnoses are provided, based on the information and sample submitted.  In recent years, an increasing number of digital images have been submitted for problem diagnoses.  In some cases, a definitive diagnosis cannot be provided and further information and additional sample material is requested.  Many of the common problems of the season are highlighted in ISU newsletter articles and the Plant Disease Clinic website.


Positive feedback is received from clients.  The following feedback was e-mailed to the Plant Disease Clinic on 8/18/06.

Last year I spent over $100 on my lawn trying to control what I thought (and was told by the nursery) was powdery mildew - no success.

It came back last week (a lot of rain & high humidity). Because of your web site I now know that what I have is slime mold and no corrective action is needed - a picture is worth a thousand words.

Thanks so much.


To better assess the impact of the services provided a survey is currently being developed.  The survey will be mailed to clients to assist Clinic personnel is measuring the Clinics value to commercial growers and home gardeners and to help continue to meet the goal of being responsive to needs.

September 2006

146 Consumer Horticulture and Forestry

147 Sustainable Agriculture


Page last updated: October 9, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz,