Saturday, July 10, 2021


The opening of the Plant Clinic to the public on a face-to-face basis is indeed an exciting time, makes us feel we are coming alive .  However, we can't help but feel a little "rusty".  Some of the best knowledge exchanges in the past have taken place with hands in the dirt working next to someone in the demo or community gardens. We helped problem solve among the group which often led to understanding the problems that might be coming into the clinic.  But with the social distancing even those conversations were somewhat limited.

The unusual heat dome we have been experiencing will have caused damage that generally we aren't familiar with.  Perhaps a review of the problems that are created by abnormal heat, dry winds and low soil moisture would be a good scenario to review. 

Several of my tomato plants have bleached white areas on their leaves.  That is definitely an abiotic
condition caused  by the extreme heat and dry conditions. referred to as leaf scorch.   I'll remove the leaves and all will be well.  The condition of spotting on the leaves to the client could spark the thought that maybe it's a terrible fungus.  This is when all the basic questions are asked as to the culture provided-plant location, watering, fertilizing, what should the plant look like.  In the case of the leaf scorch, it is pretty straight-forward as to what it was, but if it would have had a few other problems, the answer might have been different.  You never really know until you fit all the pieces of the puzzle together, (then sometimes, you still have to call for help from Toni!)

It will be interesting to track the problems that do come into plant clinic this year.  Probably with the heat and no rain there will be concerns over the tips of evergreens turning brown or conifers suffering from needle drop.

I kept a copy of a report in response to a problem and samples that were sent to the Plant Pathology Lab in 2014.  Plant clinic number: E14-2089 to be exact.

The client who lived on Wells Acre Rd. came in with some "white worms found on her driveway next to lawn in a rain puddle on 9/26/2014".  They were a total mystery to everyone  so it was decided to send them off  to OSU.

The Faculty Research Assistant identified the worms as Enchytraeid worms, also called pot worms.  The researcher wrote, "Enchytraeid worms are small, white worms that most often live in soil with a lot of organic matter.  They feed on bacteria, fungi, and decaying organic matter and are perfectly harmless.  They may have washed or crawled out of the lawn and ended up in the rain puddle on your driveway."

So--now you know.  If we ever get any rain and these little guys decide to spend time on someone's driveway and the client comes in all panic struck, you can calmly tell them the rest of the story!!

I am planning that the subject of my next article for the Bulletin will be on utilizing the services of the OSU Master Gardeners Plant Clinic.  I plan to emphasize the importance of providing complete information and what that info should include.

We need to give the community a wake-up call that we are alive and well, and willing to solve problems!!

Be sure to listen to the Gardening: Get Good at It "Clematis" segment on Tues. July 20, on KPOV 88.9FM between 9-9:30 am


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