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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find out what is killing my plants?

There are 3 options:

  1. Try to diagnose it yourself. Click on the Plant Disease Fact Sheets button (lower left of this screen) and then on the type of plant you have. Most of the fact sheets have photographs along with good descriptions of diseases of particular plants. OR, do a general web search using the name of the plant followed by ‘diseases.’
  2. Take a sample to your local Extension office. Often the staff there can diagnose the problem on the spot.
  3. Submit a plant sample to the Plant Disease Clinic. This site contains instructions on how and where to send a sample. There is no charge for a diagnosis unless very sophisticated tests are required.

Who works on diseases of vegetables, trees and flowers, mushrooms, and lawns?

The Plant Disease Fact Sheets cover many different plants and diseases affecting those plants. Most of the fact sheets have photographs along with good descriptions of diseases of particular plants. The fact sheets have a printable version.

Where can I buy a disease management guide?

Disease, insect, mite, and weed management guides are available for commercial growers and homeowners for a wide variety of crops. See the College of Agricultural Sciences Publications website. Or contact your local Extension office.

Where can I buy books about plant diseases?

In addition to your online book store, visit the online store of the American Phytopathological Society (APS). APS has the most up-to-date and detailed information available on a very wide variety of diseases of plants. AND, they sell CDs of images of those diseases that you can use for diagnosis, teaching, etc.

Who can I talk to about plant diseases or who can talk to my group? Who works on diseases of…?

  • Fruits – John Halbrendt
  • Vegetables – Beth Gugino
  • Trees and flowers – Gary Moorman
  • Turf – Wakar Uddin
  • Mushrooms – David Beyer, Peter Romaine, and Daniel Royse.

Contact information for Extension faculty can be found in the Extension Directory

How do I become a Master Gardener?

The Master Gardener Program website contains information on how to become a Master Gardener.

Where do I find out how to get a pesticide applicator license or how many pesticide applicator credits I need or where and when the next meeting near me will offer pesticide credits?

Visit Penn State Extension's Pesticide Education website for the latest information regarding licensing and applicator credits.

What are those black dots on the siding of the house, on the kid's play equipment, on the garbage pails? I can't get them off!

Those dots may be from artillery fungus, a fungus that inhabits mulch.