Fall Inspection of Trees and Shrubs

September and October are great months to enjoy working in the garden and viewing landscape plants, enjoying the outcomes of season long efforts of care.  In addition to digging, replanting, weeding, dividing and other fall routines, inspection is a key step in maintaining a sustainable landscape.


Inspection?  What does that mean?  Simply put, it’s a good “look-see” or intentional observation of plants, especially on parts that aren’t normally seen…the undersides of leaves, the stems and the roots.  A few examples of maladies or problems that may be visible this time of year include scale insects, over-mulching, foliage/stem diseases, girdling roots and hail damage.  Each of these must be dealt with on an individual basis, considering the importance of the plant and the degree of infestation/infection, but the common thread with all of them is the initial inspection and identification.


The bottom line: if something looks different than when you planted it, it’s important to get it checked out.  Nebraska Extension is here to help with that; simply send us several photos of the issue.  The two main diagnosticians in the office at this time are Scott Evans, scott.evans@unl.edu, and myself, John Fech, jfech1@unl.edu.  The best photos are ones that show a close up of the problem, usually on the border of green and brown, a full plant view and another showing a non-typical development if it has occurred.

crab abiotic at base

crab crab fireblight

girdling roots jf

hail hail damage ash

black knot john gentry

John Fech
Horticulture Extension Educator at Nebraska Extension
John Fech is a horticulturist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and certified arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture. The author of 2 books and over 200 popular and trade journal articles, he focuses his time on teaching effective landscape maintenance techniques, water conservation, diagnosing turf and ornamental problems and encouraging effective bilingual communication in the green industry. He works extensively with the media to extend the message of landscape sustainability, making over 100 television and radio appearances each year.
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