Become an EMTree: Observe your plants to prevent problems

Insects and diseases can wreak havoc on your landscape plants, and in your woodlands. The damage can be unsightly and can become costly if not properly addressed.

To help property owners identify and manage these issues, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach in Woodbury, Dubuque, Polk, and Mahaska Counties and the ISU Extension and Outreach Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic are hosting three virtual statewide workshops focused on identifying, preventing, and treating disease and insect issues in trees and shrubs.

Each workshop will include presentations by ISU Extension and Outreach specialists from the Plant Insect Diagnostic Clinic (PIDC).

“Participants will learn how to examine their plants before they have a problem, frequent observation and monitoring could mean finding a problem at early stages, streamlining the diagnostic process and where management tactics can be most effective,” said Lina Rodriguez Salamanca, plant pathology diagnostician with the PIDC at Iowa State University.

Insects can be friends or foes in your landscapes and gardens.  Laura Iles from the PIDC will tell us how to tell if an insect is beneficial or pest insect.  Learn the basics of insect lives and how to protect beneficial insects by minimizing or eliminating the use of pesticides to manage pest insects.  We will also discuss how to observe and enjoy the myriad of harmless insects in your yard.

Topics and dates:

Tuesday, April 13th at 6 p.m. (CT)

The Art and Science of Plant Problem Diagnosis

Plants get sick too! Learn how to sharpen observation skills and learn what clues to collect to determine a list of suspects.

Tuesday, April 20th at 6 p.m. (CT)

Insects and You!

Demystify insects by learning about insect life-cycles and how they feed on plants.  Learn how to observe insects in your yard and determine if they are a pest concern and how to protect and enjoy all the beneficial and harmless insects.

Tuesday, April 27th at 6 p.m. (CT)

Common plant problems in Iowa, what resources are out there?

Join us to learn about resources that can help you to keep your plants healthy! We will show case resources to learn how to observe plants, prevent and investigate plant problems.

Sessions will be broadcasted live on the Woodbury County Extension website and the ISU Plant & Insect Diagnostic Facebook page. Please register here ( to get direct links to the programs and to learn more about upcoming hands-on workshops in the future. Registration is free.


For more information on plant and insect problems visit Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic website (


Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Yard and Garden, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on April 9, 2021. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.