Digital Evaluator – An App for Trial Gardens

By Dr. Tim Rhodus, Professor and Elaine Eberlin, Systems Specialist
Department of Horticulture & Crop Science, The Ohio State University and
Online at:

The following article was first published in the June 2015 issue of the Buckeye Bulletin, ONLA.

This article describes the Ohio State University Cultivar Trials and how an app was created to assist in organizing and managing the evaluation and communication program for the garden. Initially conceived by Dr. Claudio Pasian in 2002, the Ohio State University Cultivar Trials are conducted each year in order to evaluate ornamental bedding and container plants. The objective of these trials is to observe the performance of new and recently introduced cultivated plant varieties under environmental conditions typical of central Ohio.

The OSU Cultivar Trials contain four categories of plants: field (ground beds), containers in the sun, containers in the shade, and hanging baskets. During the growing season, all plants are evaluated four times by Master Gardener and Chadwick Arboretum volunteers. These consumer evaluators are asked to rate each plant from 1 – 5 on how well they “like” the plant. Additionally…….

To read the article go to:

Results and photos of the 2014 trials can be found at:



Plant Diagnostic Sample Submission App

New to Ohio State University’s C. Wayne Ellett Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic is an app for iPhone or iPad which will allow Clinic clientele to submit images of their plant or insect problem either as stand-alone samples or to supplement a physical sample being sent to the Clinic.

OSU’s Clinic joined with 7 university-based plant diagnostic laboratories in the development of the app which is available for free from the i-Tunes Store and can be found here: or by scanning the QR code. Anyone may download and use the app which will guide the users with questions customized for various situations including greenhouse and nursery production. The Clinic will charge its  basic exam fee for digital samples submitted through the app (

While pictures are worth a thousand words they do not always tell the whole story. Some plant disease or insect samples will still require microscopic examination or other types of specialized tests to confirm the diagnosis. If a physical sample is required as a follow-up to a digital sample the Clinic’s basic exam fee will not be charged for that physical sample.

Universities/labs partnering in the development of the Plant Diagnostic Sample Submission app are:
• Alabama Cooperative Extension System
• University of Connecticut Plant Diagnostic Laboratory
• University of Illinois Extension
• University of Kentucky Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (County ANR/HORT Agents only)
• Michigan State University Diagnostic Services Laboratory
• University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension Plant Diagnostic Lab (UNHCE Field & State Specialists only)
• Ohio State University C. Wayne Ellett Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic
• Purdue University Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory