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How to Scout and Troubleshoot Problems in Crops


Get prepared

  • Gather tools that will help you acquire a sample
    • Cutters, small shovel, hand lens, plastic bags, marker, etc.
  • Go to the field with an open mind and investigate all possibilities!
    • Look at the big picture first, then the details

Know the crop you are working with

  • What does the crop normally look like
    • Is it appropriate for this stage in the planting
  • How does your crop compare

Recall important dates/events

  • Planting date
  • Any chemical applications
  • Weather conditions
    • Throughout the planting
    • During critical events
  • When problem appeared
    • Gradual or sudden
  • Soil history
    • Previous crop

Assess the site for symptoms

  • Single plant/entire planting
  • Only certain varieties
  • Wet/dry area
  • Sun/shade
  • Scattered
  • Pattern
    • Specific row(s)/edge of field/circular spots

Determine where problem is found on the plant(s)

  • Old growth/new growth
  • Bottom/top of plant
  • Whole plant/one side
  • Scattered

Identify parts of the plant that are affected

Use a hand lens to closely inspect for insects or spores (underside of leaves)

  • Leaves
  • Branches/twigs
  • Stem/stalk/trunk
  • Flowers/fruits/seeds
  • Seedlings
  • Roots
  • Whole plant

Observe Symptoms

  • Wilting
  • Yellowing/browning
  • Distortion/curling
  • Leaf spots
  • Stunting

Take a Sample

  • Include moderate symptoms or margin between healthy and affected
  • Fill out submission form
  • Submit to County Cooperative Extension Office


Authors:

Nancy F. Gregory, Plant Diagnostician

Jen Rushton, Intern

Date: 8/16/2018


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