Become an EMTree: Session Recordings Now Available

Insects and diseases can wreak havoc on your landscape plants, gardens and in your woodlands. The damage can be unsightly and can become costly if not properly addressed. The first and second virtual workshops were a success, please join us for the final one on April 27.

If you missed the first two virtual workshops, watch the recordings at:

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.

Link to watch:

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.

Link to watch:

Since we could not cover all questions live, below are some answers.

Q: How can we best manage our native oaks to keep them free from disease and insects that bore?

Answer: Monitoring your trees often and leaning what to look for, and what issues are cosmetic vs deadly is a good start, below some resources to help you in this endeavor:

Q: Where do I find resources on evergreen issues?

Answer: Evergreens can suffer from environmental stress, insects, mites, and disease problems.  Determining the cause of problems and if treatment is necessary may require submitting a sample to a diagnostic lab.

Q: What insects should I be happy to see and why?

Answer: You should be happy to see any insect!  Just kidding, I know not everyone is an entomologist and excited about any insect.  In general, people are happy to see beneficial or beautiful insects.  Butterflies and moths are considered beautiful, but sometimes we do not like the caterpillars eating our plants.  Pollinating insects such as bees are helpful in the garden.  Predators and parasites like lady beetles and lacewings are always good to see. 

If you want to encourage pollinating and beneficial insects in your yard check out the Gardening for Butterflies and Pollinators handout

Q: Why are woodpeckers attacking my tree?  What are the common woodpeckers in Iowa?

Answer: Some species of woodpecker remove bark on trees as they seek insects beneath.  For example, one of the signs an ash tree is infested with emerald ash borer is woodpeckers removing bark all over the tree.  Yellow-bellied sapsuckers leave a series of holes in a tree and they return to the same tree over and over because they eat the insects attracted to and caught in the dripping sap. 

Woodpecker: Damage Management

Join us while we answer your question on the last session, Tuesday, April 27 at 6 p.m. (CT), where a special guest Horticulturist and tree lover Dr. Jeff Iles will join us for a Q&A panel at the end of the workshop:

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.

The last 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 the Horticulture and Home Pest News webpage.


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 23, 2021. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.