2012 has been the year for difficult weather! An absurdly warm winter, followed by a cool spring and then a scary-hot summer has really taken its toll around here, and in lots of other areas around the country.
If your stressed plants are showing signs of disease or damage, you might like to know about a book that will help you diagnose the problem:
What's Wrong With My Plant? (And How Do I Fix It?) by David Deardorff, Ph.D., and Kathryn Wadsworth.
The book is divided into three sections; the first is composed of nine keys. You choose a key based on which part of your plant is affected, and then answer the first set of questions which then leads you to another set of questions until you reach a diagnosis.
You could skip straight to the pictures in the third section, but since maladies can look very similar, you'll want to use the keys for accuracy, and then use the photo section to confirm your diagnosis.
After you know the disease, fungus, insect, virus, cultural or other problem, the middle section of the book will fill you in on how to treat it organically, beginning with the most innocuous methods of control, and progressing to more rigorous treatments.
At 451 pages, What's Wrong With My Plant? has some heft to it; there is lots of great information here. I have diagnosed several problems in my garden, from leaf hoppers on a veronica (they make the leaves look speckled with white) to bladder gall mites on a maple (looks like little brown sticks standing up on the leaves). It is suprisingly satisfying to work through the book's system to a solution that's feasible for you.
Every gardener will wonder at one time or another, "What is wrong with my plant?" With this book, you'll be able to answer that for yourself.
There is still time to win a copy as part of the Timber Press Garden Problem Solver contest. (Grand Prize = new iPad!) Or, you can go ahead and purchase a copy.
A copy of this book was my only compensation for reviewing it.