Become an EMTtree: Observe Your Plants to Prevent Problems

plants, disease, trees, shrubs
AMES, Iowa – Insects and diseases can wreak havoc on your landscape plants and in your woodlands. The damage can be unsightly and can become costly if not properly addressed.
To help property owners identify and manage these issues, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Woodbury, Dubuque, Polk and Mahaska counties, along with the ISU Extension and Outreach Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic, are hosting three virtual statewide workshops focused on identifying, preventing and treating disease and insect issues in trees and shrubs. insect damage on plant leaf.
Each workshop will include presentations by ISU Extension and Outreach specialists from the Plant Insect Diagnostic Clinic.
“Participants will learn how to examine their plants before they have a problem. Frequent observation and monitoring could mean finding a problem at early stages, streamlining the diagnostic process and where management tactics can be most effective,” said Lina Rodriguez Salamanca, plant pathology diagnostician with the PIDC at Iowa State University.
Insects can be friends or foes in landscapes and gardens. Laura Iles, director of the PIDC, will explain how to tell if an insect is beneficial or a pest. Participants will learn the basics of insect lives and how to protect beneficial insects by minimizing or eliminating the use of pesticides to manage pest insects.
Participants will also discuss how to observe and enjoy the myriad of harmless insects found in the yard. 

Topics and dates

  • The Art and Science of Plant Problem Diagnosis (Tuesday, April 13 at 6 p.m.) Plants get sick, too! Learn how to sharpen observation skills and learn what clues to collect to determine a list of suspects.
  • Insects and You! (Tuesday, April 20 at 6 p.m.) Demystify insects by learning about insect life-cycles and how they feed on plants. Learn how to observe insects in your yard and determine if they are a pest concern and how to protect and enjoy all the beneficial and harmless insects.
  • Common plant problems in Iowa, what resources are out there? (Tuesday, April 27 at 6 p.m.) Learn about resources that can help keep your plants healthy. Presenters will showcase resources for learning how to observe plants, and prevent and investigate plant problems.

Registration details

Sessions will be broadcast live on the ISU Extension and Outreach Woodbury County website and the Iowa State PIDC Facebook page.
Register at to get direct links to the programs and to learn more about upcoming hands-on workshops. Registration is free.
For more information on plant and insect problems, visit the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic online.
Original photo: Insect damage on leaf.

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