Purdue Extension launches new mobile website to help gardeners


Purdue Extension’s latest mobile website can help gardeners make sure they’re never again caught with their plants down.

The Purdue Plant Doctor website is a mobile-friendly one-stop shop where gardeners can navigate the bewildering maze of insect, disease and abiotic problems that affect the hundreds of landscape trees, shrubs and flowers used in Midwestern landscapes.

“Every year, homeowners invest millions of dollars in their landscaping materials, and due to insect diseases and sometimes a lack of experience, problems come up. This is a free, easily accessible way to identify and fix those problems,” said Janna Beckerman, a Purdue Extension plant disease specialist and content specialist for the website.

The website builds on a wealth of Purdue Extension knowledge, using high-quality images to quickly sort through the thousands of problems gardeners can encounter on landscape plants and flowers. Problems found on each kind of plant are ordered based on how common they are in Midwest gardens and yards. Once problems are diagnosed, the website guides users through methods to treat their plants.

Today, many websites available to assist growers in plant health management are sponsored or developed by companies that produce gardening chemicals or products. Cliff Sadof, a Purdue Extension entomologist and content specialist for the website, said those apps tend to suggest particular products, whereas Purdue’s websites are focused on research-based treatment methods.

“We start with the least toxic approaches before we suggest using insecticides or fungicides,” Sadof said. “We want to teach people how to treat the underlying problems before turning to chemical solutions. We also have a section devoted to commonly found beneficials so someone doesn’t mistakenly harm pollinators and other beneficial insects.”

Beckerman said the website was designed to appeal to the new growers who discovered their green thumb during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We hope this website helps growers regardless of level improve their gardening experience,” she said. “For this reason, photos of each plant are included to guide growers through the diagnostic process.”

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