While POP covers many topics on our blog about orchard pest and disease management and general troubleshooting, we often do not have the capacity to answer individual questions in a timely manner or field more general garden inquires. Fortunately our friends, the Philadelphia Master Gardeners, are here to help you! 

Are your plants turning yellow and dying for some unknown reason? Need help identifying a plant in your garden? Send any questions you have (along with photos!) to philadelphiamg@psu.edu. Philadelphia Master Gardeners will work to help you troubleshoot! 

Blueberries with pale yellow leaves and dark green veins. A soil test was done to discover that the pH levels were too high.

For more in-depth analysis, you can send plant material to the Plant Disease Clinic to have a lab identify and confirm what disease is plaguing your plants. If you are having problems with a specific insect, the Insect Identification Laboratory accepts digital (preferred) or physical submissions. Both of these services are free and open to anyone living in Pennsylvania! 

Oriental Fruit Moth inside plum. The first step to managing pests is to properly identify what pest you are dealing with.

Need to do a soil test? You can submit samples to Penn State for a fee to receive lab reports on your soil’s pH, organic matter, and nutrient levels. Please note that we highly recommend soil testing before planting anything you intend to eat! Knowing your environment and its challenges means you can take the proper steps to grow (and eat!) safely in urban soil.

Penn State Extension Master Gardener program also hosts statewide Garden Hotline Live webinars which give researched answers to questions submitted by gardeners across Pennsylvania . To learn more about these webinars and submit a question of your own, click here. Webinars are free, but registration is required. One final suggestion is to try asking the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society through their horticultural library “Ask PHS” function. Perhaps the question you’re asking has already been answered!


POP’s Fruit Tree Pest and Disease Scouting Guides

Giving Grove’s Orchard Field Guide

Organic Gardener’s Handbook to Natural Pest and Disease Control

Philadelphia Citizen: How to start a garden in the city

SUPPORT US!  If you found this entry useful, informative, or inspiring, please consider a donation of any size to help POP in planting and supporting community orchards in Philadelphia: phillyorchards.org/donate.