Soil compaction from peacocks in public gardens. Pines overrun by a buffalo herd in my backyard resulting in dead branches (true story). Taxus injury in a nursery from a doghouse dragged by a dog in pursuit of deer. Sometimes diagnosis is a puzzling matrix, especially from a sample sent in the mail, described in a text, or from an online image: brown leaves, scorched leaves, dead branches may be due to a myriad of causes. But Impala damage: what gives?
It is a reminder of the importance of responding to someone asking for a diagnosis…by asking questions. Of course, we encapsulated this in “The 20 Questions on Plant Diagnostics” (ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/plpath-gen-3): from “What Is The Plant” to “What Are Our Recommendations” but we are reminded of the necessity of questioning daily.
Case Study: Why are these Acer shirasawanum ‘Moonrise’ fullmoon maple leaves scorching? Leaf scorch can be due to so many problems. Too much soil water resulting in root decline and root rot. Too little soil water resulting in moisture stress. Frost injury. Evapotranspiration due to high reflective heat and limited root space for parking lot trees.
Anthracnose disease – causing scorchy blotchiness along leaf veins. Leaf mining injury from a range of different insects. Vascular wilt diseases. Insects that damage plant stems. Or simply mechanical injury to plant stems. Necrotic tissue on leaves following earlier chlorotic tissue from severe micronutrient deficiency. And on and on.
In this case, though, it was loss of water from the maple leaves due to excessive wind whip while the potted maple was transported from its place of purchase to the ChatScape in the ChatMobile – a Chevy “Impala”. So, going back to the 20 Questions of Plant Diagnostics: “What Is The Horticultural History?” “What Is The Environmental History?” “Who Knows The Most About The Plant?” “What Else?” And so on.
In our case study, after a wide range of diagnostic postulations on our BYGL Inservice webinar this week, BYGLer Curtis Young asked the right variation of the Environmental History question: “Has this newly planted tree been transported in a vehicle recently?”
Yes, and quite rapidly. The common impala (a medium-sized antelope), Aepyceros melampus, clocks in at 47-56 mph, according to Wikipedia, and the ChatMobile Impala goes even faster!
Diagnosis confirmed. Prognosis: the maple shall be fine.