“We will identify plants for people who don’t know what they are. We will diagnose diseases if a problem is going on. We will diagnose insects or insect damage,” said Master Gardener Ann Rantanen-Lee.
Identification is usually the first step before you can find out a solution.
“A lot of times what we say is, ‘Please don’t spray it until you’ve identified it properly,'” says Master Gardener Polly Drangeid. “A lot of times when we’ll find a very beneficial insect that they have already sprayed something on.”
A team of master gardeners and interns invite people to bring them their yard problems every Wednesday night. They involve things as big as trees or as small as insects.
Ellerd Rosim of Blaine brought in what he called, “The world’s worse weed. We don’t know what we brought in,” said Rosim. It took a few moments to identify what it was, and then come up with a plan to control it.
“It takes asking some of the right questions that’s the biggest part of our process is asking the questions,” says Drangier. “You mow your lawn and you accidentally hit the tree and it causes little cracks and pretty soon disease and insects can inhabit that.”
The questions run the gamut of what people are struggling with in their yards.
A lot of times people will come and say I just bought this house in Anoka County and I’ve got this plant. ‘Is it a weed? What is it, how do I take care of it,'” said Rantanen-Lee.
If they do get stumped, they can refer people to the Plant Health Clinic at the University of Minnesota. The Master Gardener Diagnostic Clinic is held every Wednesday through August 18 at the Bunker Hills Activity Center. They start at 6 pm.