Learning to identify problems

Garden Q&A

September 01, 1996

I have several plants in my yard that seem to be dying. I need help diagnosing the problems and suggestions for treatment. Unfortunately, I don't even know the names of the plants. Where can I go for help?

You are not alone -- this a very common question. The Home and Garden Information Center accepts plant samples for identification or diagnosis of problems. Samples must be mailed to the center. Call us first at (800) 342-2507. There is a $5 fee for the diagnosis.

A sample of a branch or branches that are long enough to show healthy tissue changing to unhealthy tissue is requested. Newspaper is the best choice for wrapping your samples. Please do not put them in plastic bags or aluminum foil.

Are the plant seeds I buy from the grocery store as good as those sold at gardening shops or nurseries?

There shouldn't be any difference. All seeds are regulated by state and federal law. No matter where you buy your seeds, you'll want to check the packet for the date packaged (viability rates vary) and the rate of germination. By the way, leftover seeds may be saved in the refrigerator, or in a cool, dark place. For maximum freshness, put the packet in a closed glass jar before storing.

Garden tips are provided by the Home and Garden Information Center of the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Maryland. Call the center's hot line at (800) 342-2507.

Checklist

Begin renovation work on cool-season turf grasses. Turf-type tall fescue grass seed is recommended for the most maintenance-free lawn in Maryland. Overseed or totally renovate your lawn. Do-it-yourselfers can call the Home and Garden Information Center for a brochure called "Effective Lawn Care," or check out lawn-care books at the library.

Pub Date: 9/01/96

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