January 4, 2008
A new website that allows home
gardeners and professional horticulturists to gain information
about plant pests, diseases, and performance in the USDA's
hardiness zones 4, 5, and 6 has been launched by
University of Illinois
is designed to provide basic information about the disease and
pest problems of plants plus determine the right plant for the
right place in the garden, said Greg Stack, U of I Extension
horticulture educator and one of the designers of the website.
Originally conceived by former U of I Extension specialist Bruce
Pallsrud, the website was developed by Jane Scherer, U of I
Extension urban program/web coordination specialist, along with
Stack and fellow Extension horticulture educators James
Schuster, Maurice Ogutu, and Sharon Yiesla.
"Because of its complexity, it took several years to develop,"
said Stack. "The result is an extremely valuable site."
Users may access the information they seek by a variety of
routes. One approach is to search plant and the categories
include annuals, groundcover, ornamental grass, perennials,
roses, shrubs, small fruits, trees, tree fruits, turf,
vegetables, and vines.
If a particular problem is affecting your garden, try the search
by problem feature and initiate a search by the problem or pest
or by the plant affected, with categories for common and
Searching by perennials, for example, produces a page that gives
criteria for these plants in hardiness zones 4, 5, and 6.
Pictures of the plants are included along with information on
the various plants plus problems they may encounter. And, there
are also photos of the problems that affect the particular
"The website allows users to proceed through as much information
as they desire and gain insights and tips about how various
plants will look and perform in their garden," said Stack.
He also noted that the new website is unique.
"There are hundreds of websites that have bits and pieces of
information on home horticulture," he said. "Sometimes these are
geared toward selling a particular plant or product and the
information is biased. Others are educational to the point of
not providing practical information that the home gardener or
horticulture professional can easily use. There is simply no
single resource for reliable, unbiased information.
"While the site is not all-inclusive or exhaustive, it provides
good, basic information to guide home gardeners in selecting
plant material and alerting them to some of the problems they