How to Identify Plant Issues
And What to do About Them
March 18, 2021
Now that your outdoor plants are starting to come back to life, you may notice which ones come back with certain problems. Here are a few tips for identifying plant issues from root to shoot.
Identifying Plant Issues
Many factors contribute to plant health. There are the basic needs, like light and water, that all plants need in certain amounts. But there are also factors like weather and pests that could be harder to control. Overall, healthy plants that are well maintained tend to be stronger and more resistant to issues. The key is to keep plants healthy. One of the ways is to identify any issues early on before the damage is done. Here’s what to look for in the roots, leaves, and any fruit or flowers that bloom.
Get to the Root of the Problem
Since roots are typically underground, recognizing any issues is not going to be easy at first. However, sometimes it’s the cause of the overall plant problem. You may notice signs of distress in other areas of the plant before checking the roots. For instance, if the plant seems to suddenly start wilting, with no other signs on the leaves or stem, the problem probably originated underground. Healthy roots are long and white or tan. Any discoloration or crumbling could be a sign of distress. Shorter roots could also mean something is eating them. The shorter the root, the fewer nutrients the plant is getting. The amount of water is also a factor in root health. There’s the possibility of giving the plant too much or too little.
Leave no Leaf Unturned
Leaves don’t hide disease well. They discolor, distort, wilt, shrivel, burn, spot, and tear. If there’s something wrong with their shape and color, there is usually some sort of problem. Now the question remains, what sort of problem?
- If they appear stunted, it could be a disease.
- Discolored or spotted leaves are usually affected by a fungus.
- Chewed or torn leaves were eaten by insects. They may even still be there (turn the leaf over to check)
- Withered leaves were also attacked by bugs, but it could be ones that suck the lives out of them by the shoot.
If you notice one or more of these signs, it could be a variety of issues. Try changing the plant’s environment first, matching it to the type of light and amount of water it requires. If the problems persist or get worse, call in a plant expert to help diagnose the issue.
Plants that bear fruit are also susceptible to various issues.
Some fruit plants are prone to mildew, especially in humid weather. Look for oily spots or a white fungus on the leaves of the following plants:
Once it’s spotted, act fast to eradicate it since powdery mildew can spread to the rest of the plant.
The wind and weather also affect fruit production. Fruit needs sunlight to ripen, but too much sun and heat can cause the fruit to rot. High winds may also force fruit to prematurely drop. Extreme heat can also delay leaf formation, which causes a chain reaction in the forming of buds and flowers, all leading to poor quality fruit.
Insects, worms, and other animals are also a problem. Not only can they sting and pick at the fruit, but it often attracts other pests to feed on whatever is left. When too much damage is done, the plant isn’t likely to produce fruit again.
Identifying More Plant Issues
Insects and diseases aren’t the only proponents of plant problems. Sometimes it’s human error. If you plant your shade-loving plant in direct sun, it will have issues. When you prune too much or tear the stems with a dull blade, it will have issues. Accidentally run over a plant or roots with your lawnmower or weed-whacker? Issues.
Some issues are beyond your control. Extreme weather can affect plants. An early spring with a blast of leftover winter also puts stress on new growth. Drought season is tough, especially if area ordinances prohibit unnecessary water usage. Flooding drowns plants and roots. While you may not be able to control everything, there are ways to help strengthen your plants so that they can better withstand some of the unknowns.
Creating a Strong Foundation
Regular plant maintenance helps prevent plant problems from happening. Proper water, light, air, sun, soil, and nutrients are all factors that lead to healthier plants. Healthier plants are tougher plants. For more help diagnosing plant problems and tips for solving them, contact Elite Tree Care. We’re experienced in recognizing the signs of pests, disease, and any planting error. Then, we can help you avoid these issues altogether.