Common Problems, Pests, and Diseases

The easiest way to tell if something is wrong with your plant is to familiarize yourself with a healthy appearance. Look for symptoms like irregular growth, discoloration, and general decline.

Many universities have plant diagnostic clinics that accept samples of plants showing signs of disease and pest damage.

Here are some nearby Mt. Cuba:

If you are located outside of the Mid-Atlantic region, look into plant diagnostic clinics near you.

It is common for plants to be impacted by pests and diseases, many of which can be treated if you know the diagnosis.

Visit this resource by Missouri Botanical Garden that lists many of the common problems, pests, and diseases that occur in gardens.

A yellow leaf with brown spots indicative of disease.

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When purchasing plants, keep these tips in mind.

  • Foliage: look for green, shiny, and lush leaves. Avoid wilted/yellowed plants.
  • Shape: look for compact and full plants with multiple stems, rather than thin and spindly plants.
  • Insects/disease: inspect the container, the soil, and both sides of all leaves. Look for blackened areas, holes, spots, mushy areas, stickiness, webbing, and distortions.
  • Stem damage: if the plant has a thick or woody stem, make sure there are no cracks or scars.
  • Weeds: avoid plants with weeds growing in the pot.
  • Flowers: choose plants in bud rather than in flower, as they transplant better.
  • Root system: avoid plants that are root-bound with roots visible through the bottom holes of the pots.

In a nutshell, IPM combines a variety of methods to combat pests while maintaining ecological integrity.

Most years, Mt. Cuba offers an IPM class, so keep checking our upcoming programs and classes calendar.

To learn more about how you can utilize an IPM approach, visit this resource by Jersey-Friendly Yards.

The wheel bug (Arlius cristatus) is a predator in the garden, keeping pests at bay.

Integrated Pest Management

Weeds can cause many problems for home gardeners. Check out Mt. Cuba’s Class on Demand, Weeds 101: Summer, to learn about 13 weeds commonly found in Delaware and how to combat them using ecologically friendly methods.

Weeds 101: Summer

Deer browse is a common problem that many gardeners confront. While deer tend to stay away from some plants, it is difficult to say anything is completely deer resistant.

Visit Rutger University’s list of landscape plants rated by deer resistance!

Deer in Natural Lands at Mt. Cuba Center.

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