Gardening apps are getting better all the time

  • In this Aug. 3, 2017 photo, a gardener in Langley, Wash., is shown holding a mobile phone with app called "Like That Garden," which is one of the many entries in the expanding field of apps designed to instantly identify unknown plants or butterflies from a photo taken by the phone camera. (Dean Fosdick via AP)Dean Fosdick

Associated Press
Friday, September 15, 2017

Gardening apps are getting better all the time, supplanting manuals and textbooks as the way people dig for information. Many university Extension services are developing the digital aids to extend outreach to clients.

“Extension apps provide reliable, research-based information,” said Christopher Enroth, an Extension educator with the University of Illinois, who evaluates gardening apps for their relevancy, customization and ease of use. “I’ve examined a few apps developed by various companies that are simply another gateway to their products.

Purdue University Extension specialists have created a series of diagnostic apps for gardeners that provide solutions to dozens of problems for hundreds of plants. This low-cost Plant Doctor app suite focuses on perennial and annual flowers, tomatoes, turf grass and trees. (purdueplantdoctor.com.)

A new app from Toca Boca called Toca Lab: Plants aims to plant seeds of interest in gardening for children. It features a digital botanical laboratory that helps kids discover scores of plants with differing personalities. It also enables them to create new species. (tocaboca.com/app/toca-lab-plants.)

PlantSnap is a recent entry in the expanding field of apps intended to identify unknown plants and flowers.