What’s Wrong with My Plant?

ShrubPDF Version


Is your boxwood suddenly brown on one side? For no apparent reason does your hosta have holes? Is your lawn looking lousy? Help us diagnose your plant issue. Before you email, call, or visit us with a sample please take a look at these symptoms and descriptions and tell us what you are seeing. Providing the answers to these questions helps to narrow the field of possibilities during the diagnosis process.

Name of plant, if known.

If not, be prepared to describe it.

Plant Form

  • Groundcover
  • Tree
  • Shrub
  • Vine
  • Annual or Perennial
  • Deciduous or Evergreen
  • Does it Flower? When? What color?

Where is the plant located?

  • Container
  • Flower bed
  • Houseplant
  • Landscape
  • Lawn
  • Vegetable bed/garden

What is the sun exposure?

  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
  • Shade

Watering frequency?


  • Drip/soaker
  • Hand-held hose/watering can
  • Rain
  • Sprinkler/overhead
  • Other

Site history

  • Soil pH
  • Soil drainage: Good, Moderate, Poor

Chemical applications (names and dates)

  • Fertilizers
  • Fungicides
  • Herbicides
  • Insecticides

When was it planted?

Are nearby plants also affected?

Scattered plants or groups?

When did you first notice the symptoms?


  • Abnormal growth
  • Browning
  • Flagging (reduced growth on one side)
  • Frass (insect droppings)
  • Holes in leaves
  • Insect feeding
  • Leaf drop
  • Leaf spots
  • Rot (fruit, leaves, roots, or stems)
  • Stunting
  • Tip dieback
  • Wilting
  • Yellowing
  • Other

Parts affected and what percentage of entire plant

  • Branches
  • Entire plant
  • Flowers
  • Fruits
  • Leaves
  • New growth
  • Roots
  • Stems

Distribution of symptoms of trees and shrubs

  • Inner canopy
  • Lower canopy
  • Outer canopy
  • Upper canopy

Do you see any insects or signs of feeding damage on the affected plant? Look under leaves, on stems, and on branches or the trunk.

Despite good cultural practices, pests and diseases at times may appear. Chemical control should be used only after all other methods have failed. For pesticide information or other questions please call toll free: 877-486-6271.
UConn Home and Garden Education Center, 2019