Neil Bell is the Community Horticulturist for OSU Extension in Marion County and Polk County. Since 2000 he has overseen the Master Gardener program in both Counties. In addition to organizing the annual training each winter he also teaches the Resources and Problem Diagnosis classes in these counties and others around the State. From the many inquiries and samples we receive he developed an 11-week OSU E-campus class on plant problem diagnosis, which is taught annually in spring term and also offered through OSU Professional and Continuing Education as a non-credit class each fall.
Diagnosing plant problems: A systematic approach. Master Gardeners are called upon to diagnose problems on a vast array of plants in gardens and landscapes, whether they be small fruit, tree fruit, vegetables, turf or ornamentals. All of these have their individual disease and pest problems but there are also cultural and environmental issues to consider. Finding a way to distinguish the reason for a problem on a specific plant from this bewildering array of potential causes is the focus of this session. We will discuss a straightforward approach to plant problem diagnosis which uses a series of questions to gather information on the problem and simplify diagnosis.