Graduate students offer plant diagnostics, insect information

Contact Information:

Marcio Zaccaron, Plant Pathology Graduate Students Association

Sim Barrow, Entomology Graduate Students Association

Fred Miller, Communications, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

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plant diagnostics

Plant Science — University of Arkansas plant pathology graduate students Angela Iglesias, left, and Keiddy Urrea-Romero, right, show how growing fungi in a Petri dish helps them understand what’s wrong with a plant at the plant disease diagnostic booth on the first and third Saturdays of every month this summer at the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — University of Arkansas graduate students are offering free plant disease diagnostic services and information about insects for gardeners and homeowners at the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market.

Members of the Plant Pathology Graduate Student Association staff a plant problem diagnostic booth from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on the first and third Saturdays of each month at the farmers market on the Fayetteville square. Entomology graduate students have their insect information booth at the farmers market on the second and fourth Saturday of each month.

“If people have a problem with their plants, they can bring a sample of the plant to us,” said Marcio Zaccaron, president of the Plant Pathology Graduate Student Association.

People are encouraged to bring a sample from the plant they are concerned about, Zaccaron said. It is very difficult to make a diagnosis from a verbal description of a problem.

Students diagnose the plant diseases or other problems at the booth or take the samples back to a University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture lab for analysis, then offer recommendations for managing or limiting the problems.

“We also have a lot of free information about plant diseases that can help people take care of their plants,” Zaccaron said. They also bring samples of plant disease problems that are found in the state and cultures of fungi and other plant pathogens growing in Petri dishes.

The graduate students also answer questions from children and let them look through microscopes and other equipment at the booth. They can even take an experiment home with them.

Visitors to the Farmers' Market can learn about six-legged consumers of fruits, vegetables and ornamental plants at the entomology booth the second and fourth Saturdays, said Sim Barrow, outreach coordinator for the Entomology Graduate Students Association.

Also available are books on insect collecting, handouts on common insects and boxes of mounted specimens from the University of Arkansas Arthropod Museum on the third floor of the Agriculture Building. The students also provide advice on dealing with lawn and garden insect issues.

The Department of Entomology provides programs throughout the year to teach the public about insects and the science of entomology, Barrow said. Programs are available for school classes and other groups of all ages. Anyone interested in a presentation can contact him at, or visit the department of entomology website:

Plant pathology and entomology are academic departments of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences and research and extension departments of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.