By Brandon M. Gallagher Watson
Your phone or tablet can be a useful tool for identifying and diagnosing problems in the field. Here are a few apps that can be handy when asking the questions, “what the heck is that, and what the heck can I do about it?”
Purdue Tree Doctor
Available on: iPhone
Produced by Purdue University, you can use this collection of high-resolution photos to diagnose what’s wrong and get some options for management. Start with what tree species you are standing in front of, then choose where on the tree you are seeing the issue. From there you can flip though a catalog of photos to find one that matches what you are seeing. Hit “More Info” to find a detailed description of the problem and suggested control measures. The photos are all embedded in the app, so you can use it even without an Internet connection.
Forest Insect Pests in North America
Available on: iPhone/iPad
This is one of many new apps coming out of The Center for Invasive Species & Ecosystem Health from the University of Georgia. It taps into the expansive Bugwood.org photo library and is organized neatly by the major Orders of insects. Although it contains detailed lifecycle and distribution info, the management info is limited to Biological Control Agents. For free, it is hard to complain too much about any missing information, and the beautiful photos alone make it a great learning and training tool. Check out their others apps at apps.bugwood.org.
Available on: iPhone/iPad, Android
Although arborists may not have to know the names of weeds too often, when you are asked, it’s good to have an answer. This free app from the University of Missouri Extension service has a fairly extensive list of crop, forest, right-of-way, and backyard weeds along with a useful identification key. It does not contain any info on the best control methods for these weeds, but a quick Google search can often yield those answers now that you have properly identified them. Like many apps produced by universities, this app is more useful the closer you are to the school, but for most of the Midwest, this app’s info is pretty accurate.
Brandon M. Gallagher Watson is director of communications at Rainbow Treecare Scientific Advancements, and is an ISA Certified Arborist (#MN-4086A).