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HomePlanet LoopThe Plant Doctor Is In. Get a Diagnosis!

The Plant Doctor Is In. Get a Diagnosis!

Photo of Lesser Celandine, an aggressive, invasive species in spring.

Now that everything is blooming like crazy in our yards, some gardeners may find that their garden beds don’t really look too healthy.  If you have plant problems, help is on the way — there are some excellent online and expert resources available to diagnose problems and offer treatment recommendations.

Photo courtesy

First, there’s the Plant Information Office at The New York Botanical Garden. It is part of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library and is available to answer your home gardening questions. The Office also provides gardening guides and gardening FAQs You can send the Office your questions here.

Next, you can try the hotline at the Westchester County office of the Cornell Cooperative Extension. Their residential horticulture program helps gardeners with all sorts of questions from growing a vegetable garden to identifying an invasive weed or insect.

Cornell Cooperative Extension Educators are available to answer these questions, and more. They answer numerous questions about plant, tree and lawn care, vegetable and flower gardening, and home and garden pest management practices for county residents.To contact the Horticulture Hotline in Westchester County, call (914) 285-4640 between the hours of 9am – 12 noon. M-F.

The Westchester Office also can connect you to diagnostic services such as laboratories for soil, plant, and insect analysis.

Graphic courtesy Purdue Plant Doctor

A third useful resource is the Purdue University Plant Doctor, which  is a collaboration between Dr. Janna Beckerman (Department of Botany and Plant Pathology) and Dr. Cliff Sadof (Department of Entomology).

Although Purdue University is located in the midwest, their database of plants and plant troubles is also focused on the eastern US. So if your evergreen shrub  is turning brown, or other plants look sick, you can click on that section of the site for some answers.

Another useful site to check out is the  Rutgers University Cooperative Extension which has a gardening problems page. The site has especially good information on vegetable diseases and solutions.

Photo courtesy Rutgers University Cooperative Extension.

The site covers Vegetable Insect and Disease Control Recommendations for Home Gardens; Diagnosing and Controlling Fungal Diseases of Tomato in the Home Garden; Best Management Practices for Watering Lawns; Crabgrass Control in Lawns for Homeowners in the Northern U.S.; and Assessing and Addressing Soil Compaction in Your Yard.


Joyce Newman
Joyce Newman
Joyce H. Newman is an Emmy Award-winning environmental journalist, educator, and gardener. She holds a Certificate in Horticulture from The New York Botanical Garden, and is a tour guide there.
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