Common Home Garden Pests and Diseases

Just when you think your garden is doing well and you have watered properly, applied the recommended fertilizer and soil amendments, your plants begin to look a little wilted, or yellow. What could possibly be going on?

Evaluating and diagnosing issues with your home garden can be tricky. It is essential to contact your local extension agent to get some help. Here are a few things that you will need to think about when contacting your extension agent.

  1. Details Details Details
    • Be sure to tell your extension agent as many details and descriptions as possible.
    • Questions your agent might ask you: When did the issue begin? Have you sprayed herbicide on your yard? Fertilization schedules? Fungicides, Pesticides? How much are you watering? When did you plant? Have you had a soil test?
  2. Pictures
    • When you send pictures, make sure it is sent in the highest resolution.
    • Make sure the thing you are photographing is in focus. We want to see as much detail as possible.
    • Lighting is key to identifying correctly. There needs to be a clear bright photo sent to your agent. Try not to have the photos back lit from the sun.
    • The background needs to be as plain as possible.
    • Give an item of reference for sizing. You can add a quarter of other common item in the photo to give your agent an idea of the size.
    • Send multiple photos from different angles, tops and bottoms of leaves, flowers, fruits and the plant as a whole.
  3. Weather
    • Has there been any major weather events at your garden site?
    • Sometimes weather can play a major role in garden demise. This information can help your agent rule other things out.
Insect - Plume Moth, out of focus, on Ivy foliage - Highbury ...
This photo is not in focus and is hard to see what is actually in the photo.
This is photo has good lighting and is in focus showing a lot of detail for this insect.

Vegetable Diseases Management Tips from UGA Extension

  • Check plants frequently and early in the season to detect pests and problems while they are still at a manageable level.
  • Look for signs of discoloration or irregular growth.
  • A magnifying hand lens can be a helpful tool.
  • Avoid unnecessary pesticide applications to conserve pollinators and other beneficials.
  • Use selective pesticides when possible to protect non-target species.
  • Get a soil test every two years to avoid nutritional and pH issues.
  • Use drip irrigation and keep water off stems and leaves.
  • Choose an open, sunny site for garden.
  • Improve soil with organic matter to help keep plants healthy.
  • Avoid growing the same crop in the same spot (rotate crops).
  • Be cautious about mulch. Grass clippings may contain herbicides.
  • Remove and destroy diseased plants or plant parts, especially at the end of the season.

Check out this publication for troubleshooting vegetable problems in the Southeast:

We are here to help you with your summer garden! If you have any questions, please email me at Good luck growing and look for the next blog about summer garden harvest recipes!

This is a picture of slight herbicide damage. Photo by: Ashley Best- Newton ANR Agent
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