Utah Pests News Spring 2010

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Developing a Series of Diagnostic Training Posters

By JayDee Gunnell and Jerry Goodspeed; Extension Agriculture Agents in Davis and Weber Counties, respectively.

Identifying and correctly diagnosing problems associated with ornamental plants can be complicated and sometimes overwhelming for many homeowners and landscape professionals.  In an effort to clarify this process, we developed a series of three posters and fact sheets to serve as educational tools for green industry professionals and Master Gardener volunteers to identify and diagnose common problems associated with woody plants.

Each poster and fact sheet offers vivid illustrations of the “Top 10” most frequent problems likely to be encountered with woody ornamentals in the landscape (Table 1).  The poster series consists of:  1) Abiotic Disorders and Cultural Problems; 2) Pathogenic Diseases; and 3) Insect Pests.  The posters display a variety of colorful images which help identify and diagnose general symptoms and signs associated with each problem and/or pest.  The posters also outline general management strategies, focusing on integrated pest management (IPM) practices, and direct the public to the USU Extension Utah Pests Web site and/or to their local nursery professional for more information regarding current pesticide information.  The idea behind the project was to provide a quick visual reference, while familiarizing more people with local resources.

We created the posters in collaboration with USU specialists Dr. Kent Evans (former USU Plant Pathologist) and Dr. Erin Hodgson (former USU Entomologist), who provided technical support and feedback throughout the development process.  The list of the most common problems was determined based on the number of samples brought to the Davis and Weber Extension county offices and public queries  to Master Gardener volunteers.

The project, which took two years to complete, was funded by the USU IPM & Sustainable Agriculture Mini-Grant Program.  Design help and support was provided by Mike Whitesides and the USU Extension Marketing group.  To date, the posters, fact sheets, and PowerPoint presentations have trained over 300 professionals within the green industry and more than 130 Master Gardener volunteers.

The posters have also been distributed to nearly 40 different cities and municipalities along the Wasatch Front, along with several local nurseries and garden centers.

Each USU Extension county office has received a laminated set of the training posters for public display.  Individuals or companies interested in purchasing their own set of Top 10 posters can purchase the set for $25 by going to the Utah Pests Web site (utahpests.usu.edu).  Proceeds from the posters will go directly into further developing the USU-sponsored demonstration gardens, the Utah Botanical Center, and Ogden Botanical Gardens.

Table 1.  “Top ten” problems highlighted in each poster.

Abiotic Disorders



over-irrigation aspen leaf spot aphids
girdling roots anthracnose spider mites
iron chlorosis verticillium wilt scales
mechanical injury fire blight cankerworms
planting depth slime flux lilac-ash borer
herbicide injury powdery mildew flatheaded borers
packaging materials (wire, burlap) crown gall roundheaded borers
scorch root rot bark beetles
salt injury cytospora canker lilac root weevil
winter injury coryneum blight gall-formers