Wednesday, December 18, 2013

App Attack - Moblile Device Apps that can aid IPM and Plant Identification

With more and more people carrying mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets, it’s important to think about how this technology can be used to educate people and improve IPM (Integrated Pest Management). The apps listed below are only some that have been designed to help foresters, horticulturalist, landscapers, gardeners, entomologists, arborists, turf specialist and so on to have more information ready at their fingertips.

Plant Diagnostic Sample Submission is free app from Incubed available for Apple only. This Sample Submission app allows farmers, gardeners, landscapers, arborists, agricultural specialists and others to submit digital photo samples to a university plant diagnostic lab for diagnosis or identification. The app contains sample submission forms for plants ranging from small houseplants to large-scale agronomic crops. The user completes each form by responding to simple, customized questions. After entering a description of the problem and attaching corresponding photos the sample submission is sent to the selected diagnostic laboratory.

Bugwood or Invasive Pest apps:
Forest Insect Pests in North America is available for Apple and Android. The photos present in this App are intended to help foresters, urban landscaping employees, or others working with trees recognize some of the common pest insects affecting trees in North America and understand their life cycles and how they damage trees.

Great Lakes Early Detection Network is used to Identify and Report Invasive Plants, Animals, Insects and Plant Pathogens in the Great Lakes region of the U.S. Available for both Apple and Android.

Invasive Plants in Southern Forests: Identification and Management, is available for Apple and Android. This app provides information on accurate identification of the 56 nonnative plants and groups that are currently invading the forests of the 13 Southern States. Basic strategies for managing invasions on a specific site include maintaining forest vigor with minimal disturbance, constant surveillance and treatment of new unwanted arrivals, and finally, rehabilitation following eradication.

Midwest Invasive Species Information Network is a free app for Apple and Android from Michigan State University. You can play an important role in the early detection and rapid response to new invasive threats in your area by contributing invasive species observations to the MISIN database. This data is then shared with an emerging network of database efforts for the tracking of invasive threats and are used by land managers to help make informed decisions regarding the management and impact of invasive species.

Landscape Alternatives for Invasive Plants in the Midwest provides recommended alternatives, both native and non-native, to common Midwest invasive landscape ornamentals. This is a free app from Charles T. Bargeron and the Midwest Invasive Plant Network available for Apple only.

IPM anyone?
IPM Toolkit allows you to read news articles, view videos, download publications, and access pictures which will aid you in adapting Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices to your agricultural operation. Available for Apple and Android. 

IPMPro is a product from the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. This is an app tailored toward nursery and landscape pest management professionals. It includes time-sensitive alerts for pest control and cultural practices which adjusts to your location. View the IPM recommendations as a calendar or list. Most information revolves around woody landscape plants but also has content on landscape weeds. Available for Apple and Android at $24.99.

Plant or tree identification:
Audubon Guides is a combo-pack of field guides that includes birds, mammals, wildflowers, and trees of North America. The tree guide contains 900 native and well-adapted trees found in North America. The wildflowers guide contains hundreds of native forbs and grasses found in North America. This app form the Audubon Society cost $2.99 and is available for Apple only.

Landscaper’s Companion acts as a reference guide and plant catalog with over 26,000 plants from around the world. This app form Stevenson Software, LLC costs $4.99 and is available for Apple and Android.

ID Weeds comes free from the University of Missouri Extension. ID Weeds allows you to search for weeds by their common or latin name, view a list of weeds, or identify weeds based upon a number of different characteristics. Details about each weed are presented, along with photograph(s) of the weed specified. Available for Apple and Android.

Dirr’s Tree and Shrub Finder is Based on Michael A. Dirr's classic work, The Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, the Tree and Shrub Finder is the most comprehensive tree and shrub directory available, covering over 9,400 woody plants, with 7,600 high-quality plant images. The plant database is searchable by 72 criteria, including hardiness zones, water and light requirements, growth characteristics, flowers, fruits, and fall colors. The app offers the latest and most reliable information on woody landscape plants for the landscape professional and the home gardener alike in an inexpensive and accessible format. This app comes to you from Timber Press for $14.99, available for Apple only. 

Tree Key is a free product from the University of Wisconsin-Madison available for Apple only. Based on the Key to Woody Plants of Wisconsin Forests, Tree Key includes 85 species of trees and 57 species of shrubs and vines. Some species are native to Wisconsin while others are exotic and invasive. The app uses a dichotomous key allowing the user to select between two choices to arrive at the correct species.

Leaf Snap is a free app made through collaboration of Columbia University, University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institute. This app contains an extensive digital photo library of trees common to the North-Eastern US. It is an electronic field guide using visual recognition software to help identify tree species from photographs of their leaves. Available for Apple only.

Virginia Tech Tree Identification App contains fact sheets for 969 woody plants from all over North America with an in-depth description, range map and thousands of color images of leaves, flowers, fruit, twigs, bark and form.Users can narrow the species list for any location in North America using the phone’s GPS or any entered address or zip code. Free for both Apple and Android.

The next three apps have all been developed by experts at Purdue University through McClure Services LLC to help people manage problems with flowers and trees. The Tree Doctor app cost $1.99 (Apple and Android) and the Flower Doctors only $.99 (Apple only).

Purdue Annual Flower Doctor has been developed to help people better identify and manage insect, disease and environmental problems you find on your annual bedding plants, like geraniums, petunias, and zinnias, to name but a few of the more than 60 commonly planted annual flowers. 

Purdue Perennial Flower Doctor has been developed to help people better identify and manage insect, disease and environmental problems you find on your herbaceous, perennial landscape plants, from anemone to yarrow, to name but a few of the more than 100 commonly planted perennials in the Midwest.
Purdue Tree Doctor has been developed to help people better identify and manage tree problems caused by a variety of factors, including insects and diseases.

Ortho Problem Solver is from Scotts Miracle-Gro Company and comes free for Apple and Android. Ortho is one of the largest chemical companies in the world, with a diverse number pest control products for lawns, gardens and homes. The Ortho Solver app helps the homeowner diagnose and prescribe treatment.

Turf apps:
Turfgrass Management - Lite comes free from the University of Georgia – CAES for both Apple and Android. Turfgrass Management Lite contains pictures and information for identifying weeds, diseases, insects, and turfgrasses on which they prey.

Turfpath, made by Turfpath, is a free app for Apple and Android. Featured within the mobile application are pest descriptions, image galleries, and updated control products for turfgrass management. Stephanie uses this app!

Insect Identification:
Awesome Insects is another $.99 app from Purdue University through McClure Services LLC for Apple. This app was developed to assist students of entomology in recognizing and identifying the most common insects. It contains 150 high resolution insect photographs together with their common name, order, and family identifications.

Insect Orders was developed by Lucidmobile and is for Android use.  This simple identification key is designed to identify most common adult insects (or some groups closely related to insects) to Order in Australia. The key has been designed for use by advanced secondary students, beginning undergraduates and others interested in entomology. A key was written the key so that students will learn about the structure and biology of insects while identifying them.

Gardening apps:
Check out U of I Extension Educator, Rhonda Ferree’s Pinterest board to see the latest gardening apps for smart phones and tablets at:

Check out the blogs about Gardening apps by U of I Extension Educator, Christopher Enroth at:

(Nick Prudomme and Sean Mullahy – U of I Plant Clinic Student Workers)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Red Root Rot of Corn being Observed at Harvest

Red root rot is a late season disease characterized by the pink to red discoloration of the root and crown tissue, usually not apparent until just prior to senescence.  Above ground symptoms develop quickly in a 4 to 5 day interval during late ear fill. Stalks and foliage turn a green to gray color and the plant will die prematurely. Depending on weather conditions, severe lodging can occur following infection. Symptoms of this disease are most frequently seen where corn is grown in high population, fertility, and irrigated environments.
The causal agents of red root rot are complex of fungi that includes Phoma terrestris as the primary pathogen in association with Pythium and Fusarium species. P. terrestris is widespread saprophytic organism that colonizes the underground parts of a variety of hosts. It is very resilient, being able to survive for years in the soil under a wide range of temperature and pH conditions through the use of fungal structures called, microsclerotia. Recent research indicates that early infection of Pythium and other fungal species weakens the root system allowing P. terrestris to invade earlier and more effectively.  Further research is needed to provide more details on this disease. (Blog and pictures provided by Nick Prudhomme, U of I Plant Clinic Student.)

Multicellular microsclerotia of Phoma terrestris

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Got Rot in Your Onions after Harvest?

The above onion sample consisted of two mature bulbs that were suffering from an unknown soft rot, infested with small maggots, and also showing signs of black fungal growth. All contributing factors were identified; however none of these pests or pathogens are the primary cause for the damage noted. All insect, fungal, and bacterial pests found are post harvest problems that only appear after injury or improper curing.

One of the fungal, postharvest pathogens recovered from this sample was Rhizopus spp.  It is the cause of mushy rot. This pathogen appears on onions stored with high moisture content and humidity. Onions should be grown with good management practices in order to reduce foliar and bulb diseases.  Be sure to handle bulbs carefully during harvest, transport, and storage to prevent sunscald, bruising, cutting, or freezing injury.  After the bulbs have cured, bulbs should be stored below 15 degrees C with a relative humidity of 50%.  These management suggestions were taken from the Compendium of Onion and Garlic Diseases and Pests.

Bacterial soft rot was also found on the onion sample.  It is often caused by a combination of many bacterial pathogens. The most important step to controlling this disease is proper curing and storage of mature onion bulbs after harvesting. Fertilization and irrigation should cease early in the season to allow for bulb maturity.  Onion tops should be allowed to mature (more that 90% lodged) before harvest.  No moist or green tissue should be left on the necks of the bulbs so that they are properly cured.  Avoid bruising and handling during harvest.  Onions should only be stored after they have been well dried.  Storage at 0 degrees C and less than 70% relative humidity with good ventilation will prevent condensation of moisture on the surface of bulbs and therefore; helps to reduce the rate of development and the spread of soft rots.  These management suggestions were taken from the Compendium of Onion and Garlic Diseases and Pests.

Onion maggot pupae and adults were identified within the onion sample. Later in the season, damage can occur by second and third generation larvae, but it is less common of a problem on healthy onions, because the developing bulb is difficult for the larvae to penetrate. We suspect that the problem, in this case, was that the onion maggot larvae were able to enter through a preexisting wounds due to disease or injury of the bulb.  Onion maggot injuries are almost always associated with secondary rotting organisms; therefore, further decay can follow wounding by third generation onion maggots infection in the field and continue during storage. For additional information, you can refer to the following link:
To help manage onion maggots, a rotation from onions is recommended, remove cull onions after harvest, remove volunteer onions in spring, minimize herbicide and cultivation damage, and destroy nearby weeds.  Insecticides may not be available to homeowners.

It is very, likely that several other secondary, postharvest pathogens could have been isolated from this sample. Overall, to avoid most bulb rots, you need to: control leaf diseases, let onion tops ripen (fall over) naturally,   dry bulbs before storage, and avoid storing improperly cured or injured bulbs.  Store bulbs under cool, dry conditions.  Do not expose cured bulbs to sunscald, water, or high humidity.
(Sean Mullahy and Stephanie Porter)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

SAVE THE DATE: University of Illinois Plant Clinic and Illinois Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) Upcoming Outreach

Illinois Department of Agriculture Welcomes You to the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Horticultural Inspection Society-Central Chapter, October 22-24, 2013, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL,
October 22, 2013 am- All You Ever Wanted to Know about Tree Cankers and More, Stephanie Porter, U of I Plant Clinic Diagnostician and Outreach Coordinator
October 22, 2013 – Illinois Forest Pest Surveys, Kelly Estes, State Survey Coordinator, Illinois Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey Coordinator

Illinois Arborist Association, 31st Annual Conference and Trade Show, October 21-23, 2013, Holiday Inn/Tinley Park Convention Center, Tinley Park, IL,
October 23, 2013 10:45am - Tree Problems Diagnosed at the U of I Plant Clinic, Stephanie Porter, U of I Plant Clinic Diagnostician and Outreach Coordinator

2013 Annual Gypsy Moth Review, November 5-7, Orrington Hotel, Evanston (Chicago), IL,
November 6, 2013 10:40am- An Overview of the Success of the 2013 Illinois First Detector Workshops, presented by Stephanie Porter, U of I Plant Clinic Diagnostician and Outreach Coordinator
November 7, 2013 9:50am – Thousand Cankers Disease, Kelly Estes, State Survey Coordinator, Illinois Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey Coordinator

2014 Gateway Green Industry Conference & Trade Show (formerly Southern Illinois Grounds Maintenance), January 14-15, Collinsville, IL, the 32nd Conference & Trade Show Presented by University of Illinois Extension,
January 15, 2014 2:45pm - Review of the Most Prevalent Plant Diseases Observed at the U of I Plant Clinic in 2013, Stephanie Porter, U of I Plant Clinic Diagnostician and Outreach Coordinator

iLandscape Show, February 5-7, 2014, Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center and Hotel, Schaumburg, IL
February 7, 2014 TBA- 2013 Plant Problems Observed at the U of I Plant Clinic, Stephanie Porter, U of Plant Clinic Diagnostician and Outreach Coordinator

2014 Illinois Regional Crop Management Conferences
 January 22-23, 2014: Illinois Crop Management Conference – Mt. Vernon. Krieger’s/Holiday Inn Convention Center, For further information contact Robert Bellm, 618-427-3349
January 29-30, 2014: Illinois Crop Management Conference – Springfield. Northfield Inn Conference Center. For further information contact Robert Bellm, 618-427-3349,
 February 5-6, 2014: Illinois Crop Management Conference – Champaign. I-Hotel & Conference Center. For further information contact Dennis Bowman, 217-244-0851,
 February 12-13, 2014: Illinois Crop Management Conference – Malta. Kishwaukee College Convention Center. For further information contact Russ Higgins, 815-274-1343,

2014 Illinois First Detector Dates:
Plan to attend these workshops focusing on current and emerging pests of landscape and nursery pests!
For further updates and information, please refer to the following link:
  • ·         January 14, 2014 Peoria
  • ·         January 16, 2014 Collinsville
  • ·         February 20, 2014 Murphysboro
  • ·         February 27, 2014 Rockford
  • ·         March 12, 2014 Decatur
  • ·         March 27, 2014 Joliet