Getting Best Help at the Nursery – and Beyond

Are you have a problem with one of your plants? Here are my suggestions on how to get the best help at a nursery.

  • Look for A Texas Master Certified Nursery Professional, probably at a local independent retail garden center.
  • Know your plant’s ID, or take a generous plant sample in with you – not just one crumpled leaf.
  • Know the plant’s growing conditions and your soil type (color, pH, sand or clay).
  • Are any other unrelated plants nearby affected in same way? Insects and diseases typically, but not always, attack a small group of related plants.
  • How long has it been going on, and what have you seen?

If I’m trying to determine what type of problem a specific plant might have, I’ll start with a Web search. If I think it’s a disease, I’ll enter this in my Yahoo search: “Texas A and M Pathology ___” and I’ll fill in the blank with the plant name. If I think it’s insect-related, I will change “Pathology” to “Entomology.” If I come up empty with those, I’ll delete “Texas A and M” and just go with “university” trying to find some Land Grant school that has information on the plant in question. Most search engines will do that for you, so perhaps all you’ll have to do is to scroll down just a bit farther in your searches. I frequently find good information from Auburn, Clemson, Oklahoma State, Colorado State, Purdue, Virginia Tech and others.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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