Brian Hudelson, UW-Extension Plant Disease Specialist
Director of the Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic
Department of Plant Pathology
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Total Time – 3:05
0:16 – plants in the winter
0:50 – minimize winter injury
1:30 – plant disease diagnoses
2:37 – submitting samples
2:52 – lead out
Lorre Kolb: Plants in the winter. We’re visiting today with Brian Hudelson, Extension Plant Disease Specialist and Director of the Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Lorre Kolb. Brian, what happens to plants in winter?
Brian Hudelson: Well definitely we see some issues. Most plants will, if they’re deciduous – the ones that drop leaves – they’ll go dormant for the winter. But we have also evergreens that tend to be still active, they’re not growing a lot, they have water requirements so we can run into problems sometimes with these plants that they will dehydrate over the wintertime and other things that potentially can happen if we don’t get a lot of snow, sometimes what will happen is that the temperatures will get very low and then our soil temperatures will get very, very low and then we get a lot of root injury and that can lead to die back of trees and shrubs the following spring.
Lorre Kolb: How does one minimize the effects of winter injury?
Brian Hudelson: For the evergreens that tend to dehydrate over the wintertime if they don’t have enough water, what we recommend is making sure that you water adequately into the fall. Trees and shrubs, if they’re deciduous we usually recommend about an inch of water per week up to the point where they start to turn their normal fall color. For the evergreens we recommend watering farther into the fall, up to the point when the ground freezes or we get a significant snowfall. And then in terms of the winter injury, we just hope for a lot of snow; that snow is a nice insulating layer to prevent those cold temperatures from really causing the ground to freeze substantially.
Lorre Kolb: If one suspects some winter injury, what should they do?
Brian Hudelson: They can certainly send in a sample to my lab and we can evaluate it for that. We’ll look for other disease problems as well. One of the plants in particular we’re asking for folks to send are Boxwood samples because we do see a lot of winter injury on Boxwood, but we’re also monitoring for a new disease that has not yet been found in Wisconsin, it’s called Boxwood Blight, so anytime we see or have folks who talk about Boxwoods with die back we want then to send in a sample. We actually do those diagnoses for free because we want to detect this Boxwood Blight as quickly as possible when it enters the state because we’ll have better ways of managing the disease once it arrives. There are other sorts of diseases that we also offer free diagnoses for, there’s a new disease again that we have not found in the state called Thousand Canker Disease. So if you see declining walnut trees and want to get a branch sample into us, all you have to do is invoke the words Thousand Canker Disease and we’ll do a free diagnosis for you. Then our big free testing program is actually for a disease of tomatoes and potatoes called Late Blight and we do that every year because again we want to catch that disease as early as possible in the growing season because that disease can have a huge impact on our commercial potato production.
Lorre Kolb: So how do people get their plants to you?
Brian Hudelson: Visit my website which is PDDC.wisc.edu and we have information on how to submit a sample. You can always submit a sample through the county extension system.
Lorre Kolb: We’ve been visiting today with Brian Hudelson, Extension Plant Disease Specialist and Director of the Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Lorre Kolb.