In order to get the most out of your experience, here are some tips to follow when bringing us a sample:
1. STUDY your plant at your home before you come. What conditions is it growing in – full sun or deep shade? Dry or wet soil? How long has the problem persisted? How old is the plant? When does it bloom? Are other plants around it having the same problem? Look closely at the underside of leaves and note clues.We are here to provide solutions for your life! For information please visit our website at http://www.pinellascountyextension.org/ or come in and see us at:
2. Has there been a CHANGE in conditions lately? A shade tree has vanished, you spread fertilizer, or has someone dug around the roots lately?
3. What STEPS have you already taken to fix the problem on your own?
4. A vital first step in diagnosing your plant is identification, so take BIG samples. We don’t need a whole tree, but one tiny leaf is hard to identify, much less diagnose what is wrong with it. How the leaves attach to the plant, color, and other factors help your plant “doctors” identify the plant. A sharp digital photo (or two or three or ten) of the whole plant and its problem area is helpful too.
5. Bring FRESH samples. Take cuttings from your troubled plant right before you leave the yard. Treat that cutting like a cut flower, keeping the cut end in tepid water.
6. If GRASS is the problem, bring in at least a 10 by 10 inch sample in a box or container, taken from the area where some of the grass is still green and some grass has turned brown.
7. SEPARATE your samples using separate containers for each plant. Pests and disease symptoms can shake loose and spread during transport.
8. If the problem revolves around INSECTS, bring in a live sample if possible. If the insect is dead, carefully place the insect in a plastic bag to bring it in. Smashed insects are hard to identify.
Pinellas County Extension Office
12520 Ulmerton Rd., Largo 33774
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8am-5pm, excluding holidays
Master Gardener Plant Clinic at the Palm Harbor Library
2330 Nebraska Ave, Palm Harbor FL 34683
Hours: Wednesdays, 10am to 2pm, Jan. through mid-Nov.
or you can call the...
582-2100, option 1
Mon., Tues., & Thurs. 9am-12pm and 1pm-4-pm
Thank you to Master Gardener Sandy Huff for contributing to this article.