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Disease Prevention and Diagnosis For Nursery Crops - in English and Spanish

Many nursery managers and frontline workers have years of experience in the nursery industry, but no way of demonstrating their knowledge due to lack of formal education credentials.

We are proud to present an exciting bilingual course (select Prevención de enfermedades y su diagnóstico en cultivos de vivero for the Spanish versionon basic plant health and disease prevention that was created specifically with the workforce in mind! 

There are many important pathogens that can cause plant disease in your nursery. Learn how to prevent the introduction and spread of these microorganisms by implementing best management practices at your nursery!

Bottom Line Impact 

After completing this program, participants will be better able to recognize signs and symptoms of plant diseases in the early stages. This will prevent economic loss from plants that cannot be sold.

For instance, some plants need at least 3-4 years to become established. If these plants suffer from plant disease, then 4-5 years of progress can be completely destroyed.

If a nursery staff isn't trained in how to recognize signs and symptoms of plant disease in the early stage, they might not realize their daily practices and behavior (driving around the nursery, wearing muddy boots) are putting their entire nursery at risk.

Prevent Plant Disease Outbreaks

This Plant Health and Disease Diagnosis for Nursery Crops training program is designed to prepare nursery workers and managers to better understand, manage, and prevent disease outbreaks.

The course will explore the interaction among the practices in plant production and the effect of these interactions on plant health and plant growth. In turn, implementation of this information will aid nursery workers in minimizing inefficient practices that result in plant loss and decreased profits.

The course will promote a sense of responsibility in each worker at any level of production. Workers will appreciate that all steps in plant production are important and complement each other; they must all be considered to have a final product that is healthy and sellable.

Help with Licensing Preparation

In addition, those that complete the course will be more confident and better prepared to take the pesticide licensing exam; the information on pathogens, disease, and management that is presented in this course is the foundation on which all of the licensing exam material is built.

Nursery Pathogen Training Overview

The course consists of five online modules and is self-paced. There is an assessment at the end of each module that students should complete before proceeding to the next module. Instructors are available via email to answer questions and address concerns.

  1. The first module provides a broad overview of plant disease and the various microorganisms that can cause disease.

  2. The second module introduces important plant pathology concepts such as the disease triangle and disease cycles.

  3. In the third module, we discuss best management practices that can be executed to manage and prevent plant diseases.

  4. The course continues with a fourth module about signs, symptoms, and management of specific nursery crop diseases.

  5. The course will finish with a fifth module that introduces Integrated Pest Management and includes scouting and record-keeping procedures as well.

Students will need to pass a final exam before receiving their Plant Health Certificate. At the end of the course, students will be well equipped and able to apply their knowledge of plant health to create an environment where healthy plants can grow and thrive.

The course consists of five modules, and assessments include one assignment and one quiz per module. A cumulative grade of 70% or more is required to pass.

Plant Health Certificate

By the end of this course, students will know:

  • The causes of disease
  • The difference between signs and symptoms of disease
  • The disease triangle and disease cycle
  • Sources of plant pathogens
  • Important characteristics of the major groups of pathogens
  • How to properly wash hands
  • Water management around the nursery
  • The importance of cleaning and sanitizing vehicles, equipment, and containers
  • Identification, signs, and symptoms of several key nursery diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, and fungi
  • Basic components of an IPM (Integrated Pest Management) program
  • Efficient scouting
  • Record-keeping
Self-paced Option: Always Available
Six weeks
price (2)
Additional Information:
4 ODA pesticide recertification credits
(2 CORE and 2 other) for English course only.

"Supervisors have participated in Luisa’s training and since then we have noticed a marked improvement in pest and disease identification. By early detection, we are able to do spot sprays, which are much more cost effective and contain the problem immediately. Not only do we see increased confidence in our employees, they are training others to identify pests and diseases. This is huge!”

Nursery Manager

"Dr. Santamaria fills a unique and valuable role and is more effective than anyone I know at teaching best management practices to Hispanic workers."

Nursery Inspector

"Being able to have my Spanish speaking workers attend trainings that they understand is invaluable to me as a supervisor. Having an educated workforce is vital, especially when working with chemicals that are potentially hazardous to workers or the environment. Workers who understand the “why” and not just the “How” of chemical application are better able to make informed decisions, take appropriate safety precautions to heart, and are simply better employees. I am hugely grateful to Dr. Santamaria for the scale and scope of the programs she has provided to date and look forward to her future programs as well.”

Greenery Manager

“I have found the training our employees receive with Luisa gives them knowledge to ask the right questions. Employees pay more attention to detail when they know what to look for. The education they receive gives them confidence in themselves which is invaluable to an employer. As plant grow, it’s important for our employees to grow as well.”

Store Manager


Dr. Luisa Santamaria
Associate Professor – Extension Plant Pathologist, Oregon State University

Located at the North Willamette Research & Ext. Center in Aurora, Luisa’s extension and outreach program supports the nursery and greenhouse industry in Oregon. Her applied research focuses on the management of plant diseases in ornamental and nursery crops, especially those caused by soilborne pathogens. Luisa has implemented a bilingual education program that supports the nursery industry and other agriculture commodities to promote the production of healthy plants and good agricultural practices.

Past Students' Work

Take a look at some recent projects our students have created.