Plant production is reduced significantly every year, due to pathological problems. To control these problems is to increase productivity, and for the horticultural business; that means increased profit margins.
PLANT PATHOLOGY IS NOT simply a study of pests & diseases. Some pests are in fact not pathological problems, and there are pathological problems which are not pests or diseases.
PLANT PATHOLOGY is about problems in plants caused by physiological damage or irritation at a cellular level. It is concerned with problems which affect parts of the plant cell, leading to malfunctions in the normal processes which occur within the plant.
There are 8 lessons in this course:
- Types of Diseases
- The Lifecycle of a Disease
- Control Techniques
- Selected Pathogen Diseases ? Ornamentals
- Selected Pathogen Diseases ? Crops
- Non-Infectious Diseases
- Special Project
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
- The first part of the course develops an understanding of the different types of problems which can occur and how to identify them.
- Terminology is covered in some depth, so as to enable the student to be able to read & understand books & articles written about plant diseases. Other major topics of study include "symptoms" (ie: Necroses, Hypoplases, Hyperplases, etc), "types of pathogens" (ie: Viruses, bacteria, fungi, Nematodes, etc), and the lifecycle of a disease.
- The second part of the course looks at how to control pathologyproblems. The major methods of controlling pathogens (ie: Sanitation, resistant varieties, biological controls, soil drenches & chemical sprays, etc) are all studied, along with types of equipment & safety.
- The third part of the course looks at some of the most common plant pathology problems in commercial horticulture, how to identify them and how they are controlled.
- Some of the problems studied include cinnamon fungus, tree decay, powdery mildew, nematodes, brown rot, blights, turf fungi, damping off and non infectious problems such as temperature burns, air pollution, wind burn and excessive light.
- The course is a highly practical one involving as much time in practical/field work as it does theory.
- No prior formal training is required, though anyone undertaking this course is expected to have some experience in horticulture (either having worked in the industry or having studied in some related discipline.
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