Got a problem?
Abnormalities in your plant's growth are typically caused by diseases, disorders, weeds or insects. Disorders are abnormalities usually caused by environmental factors such as nutrient availability or temperature. Examples include chlorosis or frost cracking. Diseases are abnormalities caused by microorganisms or other pathogens invading your plant. Examples include black knot or grey mould (botrytis).
It's important to remember that all outdoor plants will be exposed to multiple diseases, disorders and insects, but most of the time only some plants will be damaged by them. Which plants get damaged? Typically it's the plants that are already stressed by not having enough light or consistent water. The take-home message is: if you want to keep your growing issues lower, make sure the basic needs of the plant are met so your plant can defend itself from common problems. Most plants need the upper range of sun on their growing tag (ie. if it says full to partial sun, it probably is most healthy and resilient in full sun). In our climate, mulch is likely a good choice for most situations. Of course, while this is solid basic advise, it won't help prevent every problem you may encounter.
See below for specific advice on how to help diagnose the most frequent issues in our growing area, then check out the rest of the Gardenline Online website for the typical issues that face most gardeners on the Canadian Prairies and Northern Canada. All of our advice will be pesticide free.
Other Useful Websites
Fruit and Veg
Kansas State University Turfgrass Problem Solver - not all issues are relevant here but the majority are
Canadian Forest Service Publications for catalogue of diseases and disorders
North Dakota State University Key to Diagnosing Tree Problems Using Injury Symptoms similar hardiness zones to Canadian Prairies
Need more help than what's here on Gardenline Online?
Current Issues on Facebook
Our Gardening at the U of S Facebook page post multiple times a week on topics that are important, right now, to your garden. If you are having an issue with an insect, disease, or plant odds are good other people are too. In addition to timely information, we also keep you up to date on new research, coming events, upcoming courses, and hort job opportunities. Check us out to see if we have something posted to help you!
Gardenline: Free Personal Advising
Gardenline is open for 2018 from May to August.
Need advice about home gardening on the Prairies? Trying to ID that plant, pest or disease? Trained professionals will help you with your gardening questions, free of charge!
How to contact Gardenline:
In person Room 1D30, Agriculture Building, 51 Campus Drive, Saskatoon (please call first)
Hours Weekdays, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
It is helpful to email a photo along with your question to Gardenline. Here are some tips:
- Include a photo of the entire plant as well as the affected area of the plant
- For trees, be sure to include a photo of the trunk where it meets the soil
- Please include the location (city/town) of the plant
- Include as much information as you can along with your question: the name of the plant if you know it, when it was planted etc.
You can bring a plant, weed or insect sample in for examination. Please call first to ensure that someone is available to meet you. Tips for submitting samples:
- Collect samples of both diseased and non-diseased leaves, stems and branches
- Keep the plant sample as fresh and cool as possible – wrap stems in damp paper towel and plastic
- For weed identification, please collect the entire plant
- For insect samples, use a sealable plastic container and keep cool
Sometimes call volumes are heavy. Questions are answered in the order they are received. Some questions require additional research to diagnose or solve a plant problem. We look forward to working with you and appreciate your patience.
Please note that Gardenline does not do home visits nor do we offer landscape design services.
Upcoming diagnostic workshops
All of our workshops are open to the general public