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Identifying Insects And Diseases On Plants

Identifying insects and diseases on plants will help you take the proper steps to ensure the health of some of your outside investment. How many times have you walked outside and looked at some plants and seen chewed up spots on leaves, or tiny white insects infested in the underneath part of leaves on a tree or shrub?

Learning to recognize the symptoms of insects and diseases in plants, is somewhat similar to a doctor diagnosing a sickness or injury. This page is a simple solution for all when working with those nasty pests and dreaded diseases.

Fungus On Tree

Below is a list of eight different symptoms of some pests and diseases, and some tips on what to do to resolve the problem. Hard shell and oblong insects appear on leaves. The leaves are almost completely chewed up, and the flowers are damaged and frayed. This is a sign of beetles present on your trees or shrubs.

Insecticidal soap may be used, and applications can be repeated. Beetles are common on many plant specimens, and particularly on Roses and Grape.

Leaves on your plants are covered with masses of yellow or white dots, which in reality are spider mites. This was one of my problems I had in my greenhouse. The spider mites form webs on the back side of the leaves. To control and get rid of spider mites, spray both sides of the leave regularly with water. Spider mites can be found on many plant specimens, but are especially common on Arborvitae trees and shrubs and peach trees.

Many shrubs and trees have a problem with Aphids. These are tiny pear shaped insects. Aphids are brown, red, green or black in color. They will appear in clusters on the stems and leaves. Aphids often leave a sticky secretion on the ground below the trees and shrubs. A simple solution is to repeatedly spray with insecticidal soap. Identifying aphids early on can save your plants down the road.

Question From A Reader

White Mildew On The Underside Of Leaves
LaDawn Wells from Cape Coral, FL, USA asked this question.

White Mildew On Leaves

My Poblano pepper plant has developed a white powdery looking substance on the underside of it leaves, not on topside. I'm not sure it can be saved at this point, but what is it and how can it be treated in the future?

Herbee here.
Hi LaDawn, thank you for asking the question on your white powdery substance on the leaves of your Poblano Pepper plant. Below is some information on the possibility of what the problem is. I would recommend a fungicide or insecticidal soap. This should take care of your problem.

This page should give you some insights on how to get rid of the mildew. Mildew is common on many different plant specimens. You can first try warm water with the insecticidal soap. Gently rub the soap on the underside of the leaves. You can do this once or twice a week. See if the soap takes care of the mildew.

If there is still some mildew, go ahead and apply some safe fungicide. Let us know if either of these methods work. Thanks again LaDawn for asking the question.

The leaves and stems of your trees and shrubs are covered with a grayish color. Powdery mildew is the cause of this coating, and the leaves may become deformed and can fall off. This can be a nuisance, and should be treated with a fungicide. Give the trees and shrubs better air flow.

Another solution is to begin pruning and thinning the affected plant specimens. Powdery mildew is common in apple trees, Euonymus shrubs, roses, and Lilac bushes.

One of the most harsh thing that can happen to your trees and shrubs are viruses. Identifying the problem early on will save you money down the road. Viruses have no cure, and symptoms range from the plant growth is stunted, to leaves that are very deformed.

Destroying infested plants is the best answer, and also to protect other species around the diseased plant. This can become a problem in some trees, shrubs and vines.

Scale insects are found on the stems of trees and shrubs. These are stationary insects and can be soft or hard shelled. Their colors are white, brown, black or gray. Leaves may become yellow and growth may also be stunted. Identifying these insects is the first step, and then spray in the springtime with a dormant oil spray before new growth begins.


Herbee's Buzzing Hot Book - Identify Plant Problems



This book is a wonderful additional resource for identifying problems with all your plant specimens. Great recommendations and worth your investment.


Identifying insects and diseases on plants such as Camellias, beech, Horse Chestnut and Magnolias and treating these species in the spring should keep you ahead of the game. This should help get rid of these insects once and for all.

When you see holes, sawdust, or droppings visible on trunks or branches, this is a sign of borers present. Worm like, cream colored larvae are found in the holes. To avoid the borer problem, prune back any infested branch.

One of the best solutions is to find out from a professional the exact product that would work for you. Borers are found in many trees, but some of the most common are Fruit trees, Birch, Dogwoods and Mountain Ash.


One of the most annoying insect to hit plants, is the Caterpillar. They are soft-bodied, and can be smooth or hairy. Many times you can see the formed webs. When these insects reach adulthood, they are identified as moths and butterflies. One of the best solution is to remove the webs and burn them. There are specific sprays available in different geographic locations. They can effect most trees and shrubs.

Identifying the eight pests and diseases above is critical in maintaining your garden and landscape. The ultimate answer to identifying insects and diseases in plants, is knowledge and prevention. Provide each specie with the best possible growing environment, as well as early identification of any insect or disease problem.

Certain climates will produce different insects and diseases, so take the steps to know what could be in your location, as well as learning the cures for each problem.

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Herbee hope this page has given you an awareness of eight common insects and diseases in some plant specimens.

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