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Plant Pathology 100 Hours Certificate Course


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Plant Pathology 100 Hours Certificate Course

Price: £325.00Course Code: BHT206 CLD
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Plant Pathology 100 Hours Certificate Course

Plant Pathology course online.

Learn and understand how to remedy plant health problems correctly! This is a necessary course for horticulturalist who want to improve their plant health and prevent damage by pests and diseases.

You'll learn to understand all types of plant diseases (fungal, viral, bacterial, non-infectious); their life cycles, and the methods needed to control diseases with and without the use of chemicals. The knowledge gained in in this course is vital for all practising Horticulturalists.


Learning Goals: Plant Pathology BHT206
  • 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 and understand books and 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 life-cycle of a disease.
  • The second part of the course looks at how to control pathology problems. The major methods of controlling pathogens (ie. sanitation, resistant varieties, biological controls, soil drenches and chemical sprays, etc.) are all studied, along with types of equipment and 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.
  • Describe a range of pathological problems that affect plants.
  • Describe symptoms of a range of diseases that affect plants.
  • Describe disease life cycles and explain how this knowledge can be applied in disease control
  • Explain the methods used to control diseases
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of a particular plant pathogen.
  • Identify and describe a range of non-infectious diseases and problems that affect plants
  • Identify and describe a range of common pathogens that affect ornamental plants.
  • Identify and describe a range of common pathogens that affect crop plants


Lesson Structure: Plant Pathology BHT206

There are 8 lessons:

1.    Introduction

  •         Overview of plant disease
  •         Diagnosis of problems: nutritional, environmental, pathological
  •         Symptoms
  •         Common terminology

2.    Types of Diseases

  •         Morphological changes
  •         Necroses
  •         Hypoplases
  •         Hyperplases
  •         Types of pathogens: viruses, bacteria, actinomycetes, fungi, nematodes
  •         Techniques for diagnosing plant diseases: optical equipment, preparing pathogens for observation, culture methods, inoculation, etc
  •         Plant viruses; detection and diagnosis
  •         Plant nematodes
  •         Case study: Australian plant nematodes
  •         Main types of diseases
  •         Spots
  •         Rots
  •         Cankers
  •         Galls
  •         Mildews
  •         Rusts
  •         Moulds
  •         Wilts
  •         Scabs
  •         Others
  •         Using a key to diagnose diseases in plants

3.    The Lifecycle of a Disease

  •         Inoculation
  •         Penetration
  •         Infection
  •         Growth and reproduction
  •         Dissemination
  •         Methods of penetration by bacteria and nematodes
  •         Lifecycle of nematodes
  •         Fungal biology
  •         Role of insect spreading fungal and bacterial pathogens

4.    Control Techniques

  •         Sanitation
  •         Resistant Plant Varieties
  •         Biological Controls
  •         Soil Drenches/dips
  •         Chemical Controls
  •         Nematicides
  •         Soil fumigants
  •         Contact poisons
  •         Fungicides and the environment
  •         Systemic fungicides
  •         Misters, dusters, blowers, sprayersSpray maintenance and cleaning
  •         Natural controls: cultural, physical, biological, etc
  •         Terminology

5.    Selected Pathogen Diseases Ornamentals

  •         Fungi affecting turf
  •         Phytopthera cinnamomi
  •         The process of tree decay: Shigo
  •         Case study: how phytopthera cinnamomi kills a susceptible Eucalyptus
  •         Peach powdery mildew
  •         Rose powdery mildew
  •         Honey fungus on rhododendrons and azaleas
  •         Petal blight on rhododendrons and azaleas

6.    Selected Pathogen Diseases Crops

  •         Sclerotinia rot in vegetables
  •         Nematodes and citrus production
  •         Citrus diseases: scaly butt, lemon crinkle, citrus canker
  •         Brown rot
  •         Fire blight
  •         Apple fruit rot caused by trichoderma harzianum
  •         Prunus necrotic ringspot virus in cut flower roses
  •         Potato and tomato blight
  •         Club root

7.    Non-Infectious Diseases

  •         Nutritional disorders
  •         Lack of water
  •         Excess water
  •         Other environmental problems
  •         Disorders caused by man: mechanical damage, pollution
  •         Case Study: Air pollution
  •         Other disorders: genetic, disturbed growth
  •         Non parasitic turf problems

 8.   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.



Practicals - What You Will Do
  •     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.


The quality of this course is second to none, from the in-depth learning you will get to the expert individual mentoring you will receive throughout your studies. The mentors for this course are: 
Yellow Roses Susan Stephenson Horticulture tutorSusan Stephenson
BSc in Applied Plant Biology (Botany) Univ. London 1983.
City and guilds: Garden Centre Management, Management and Interior Decor (1984)
Management qualifications in training with retail store. Diploma in Hort level 2 (RHS General) Distinction. 
Susan Stephenson is a passionate and experienced horticulturist and garden designer. She has authored three books, lectures at 2 Further and Higher Education Colleges, teaching people of all ages and backgrounds about the wonders of plants and garden design, and tutors many students by correspondence from all over the world.
Susan studied botany at Royal Holloway College (Univ of London) and worked in the trading industry before returning to her first love plants and garden design. She is therefore, well placed to combine business knowledge with horticulture and design skills. Her experience is wide and varied and she has designed gardens for families and individuals. Susan is a mentor for garden designers who are just starting out, offering her support and advice and she also writes, delivers and assesses courses for colleges, introducing and encouraging people into horticulture and garden design.
In 2010, Susan authored a complete module for a Foundation degree (FDSC) in Arboriculture.
Susan holds the RHS General with Distinction. She continues to actively learn about horticulture and plants and (as her students will tell you) remains passionate and interested in design and horticulture.
Steven Whitaker Horticulture TutorSteven Whitaker
Diploma in Garden Design (Distinction) – The Blackford Centre, Gold Certificate of Achievement in Horticulture, Level 2 NVQ in Amenity Horticulture, Level 1 NOCN Introduction to Gardening, – Joseph Priestly College, BTEC Diploma in Hotel, Catering and Institutional Operations (Merit), Trainer Skills 1, & 2, Group trainer, Interview and Selection Skills – Kirby College of Further Education
Steven has a wealth of Horticultural knowledge, having ran his own Design and Build service, Landscaping company, and been a Head Gardener. His awards include five Gold awards at Leeds in Bloom, two Gold awards at Yorkshire in Bloom and The Yorkshire Rose Award for Permanent Landscaping. Steven has worked with TV’s Phil Spencer as his garden advisor on the Channel 4 TV Programme, “Secret Agent”. 
He is qualified to Level 2 NVQ in Amenity Horticulture and has a Diploma in Garden Design which he passed with Distinction. Steven’s Tutor and Mentor was the Chelsea Flower Show Gold Award-winning Garden Designer, Tracy Foster. He also works for a major Horticultural Commercial Grower in the field of Propagation and Craft Gardening. Steven lives in Leeds where he is a Freelance Garden Designer and Garden Advice Consultant. 



Excerpt From The Course


Although there are a variety of conditions such as lack of water, poor nutrition, and waterlogging which can cause the most common symptom on lawns - discoloured turf, it can also be caused by a number of diseases and so the cause is worth investigating.

Fungi on Turf

Let us firstly recap on what we already know about fungi. Fungi are a primitive form of plant life which, unlike green plants (such as grasses), are unable to produce their own food through photosynthesis.  This means that fungi must obtain their food from other life forms (plants or animals - living or dead).  Some types of fungi are in fact of benefit to us, living on dead organic material and helping decomposition.  Other fungi however attack living organisms, feeding from and causing deterioration to the life form it attacks.

Most fungi are made up of a body comprised of filaments which grow hyphae. Together, groups of filaments are called mycelium.  When the mycelium establishes sufficiently and has the right conditions, it will produce fruiting bodies (e.g. the umbrella which we eat of a mushroom - this is the mushroom fruiting body which has grown up from a mass of hyphae growing in organic matter in the soil).  The fruiting bodies of fungi can vary greatly in shape and size.  On maturation, one fruiting body will release many (sometimes thousands) spores (i.e. the equivalent of seeds in flowering plants).  These spores are microscopic and move in the air, soil, water etc. They can lie dormant sometimes for years, until the conditions are suitable for growth.  Under the right conditions, the spores will grow to produce a new mycelium.

When a plant leaf, stem, root, flower, or fruit is affected by fungi, hyphae grow into the body of the living plant feeding off its tissue and (depending on the severity of the type of fungus) causes anything from a slight ill effect through to death of part of the plant, or whole plant.

Damping Off

This refers to several different types of fungus (Pythium, Phytopthora etc) which attack young seedlings causing them to rot at ground level.  This disease is of significance in both the nursery industry and in turf care. In turf, damping off will show in a newly sown lawn as a reddening or bronzing of grass leaves in patches, particularly in places where grass is dense, or in wet spots.  Overwatering is a significant cause of damping off.  Reduced watering as well as application of a fungicide (e.g. Zineb) are the best techniques for control.

Red Thread

This is caused by the fungus, Corticum fusiform, usually in the autumn or late summer. it is more noticeable following rainfall or morning dews and is visible as pinkish red patches. Close inspection reveals horn shaped red fungal growths attached to grass blades and stalks sometimes sticking them together since they become gelatinous with moisture. Often damage is minimal, being more unsightly than anything else, and the fungus disappears after several weeks. If there is a severe outbreak then the fungus may remain in drier weather. It often takes hold in soils low in nitrogen and with poor aeration. Aerating the soil and removing thatch therefore helps, as does feeding with a nitrogenous fertiliser. Fungicides containing benomyl, thiophanate-methyl or carbendazim are also beneficial.

Brown Patch

This appears as light yellowing or browning of grass blades in irregular patches.  The areas will increase in size if unchecked and can result in the death of grass and subsequent invasion by mosses.  Lack of aeration, poor drainage, and warm weather are contributors to the infection.  High applications of nitrogen fertilisers in summer make grass more susceptible to attack.

If fertilising you are better to apply a little, more frequently, to reduce likelihood of brown patch.

Hollow tine aeration will help control brown patch.  Chemical control can be achieved with Captan, PMA or Thimer.

Fairy Rings

These appear as a ring of toadstools or puffballs (small round white balls) growing in a circle.  The mycelium of these fungi can penetrate soil to a depth of 8 inches in a mass of white fibres.  This fibrous growth throughout the soil can have a waterproofing effect. Since water does not penetrate, the grass becomes starved for water and suffers.  Aeration can assist in the short term however the only long term sure control is to fumigate the soil (this means killing the turf and starting afresh).

Dollar Spot

Small pale green or yellow spots 1 or 2 inches across appear at first, often with a white edge.  As the disease progresses, spots may grow larger and join to form irregular patches.  The disease occurs most frequently in conditions of high humidity and warm weather.  Overwatering, particularly night watering in hot weather, will favour development of the fungus.  Low nitrogen levels in the soil will favour development of this particular complaint.

Chemical control is achieved with Benlate or Daconil.  You should be sure that Benlate is only from a freshly opened packet since this chemical deteriorates once exposed to air.


Rust appears as orange, brown or black streaks on leaf blades of grass. Rust is more commonly a problem on greens, particularly in autumn.  Severely infected grass can die.

Some fungicidal sprays may help, however the best control is achieved by removing all grass clippings from the area of the turf and by maintaining a program of regular fertilising and deep watering.


Course Info
How Do Our Tuition Fees Compare?
Course StartBegin your course at anytime.
Course Prerequisite None - Our course levels are an indication of the depth of learning you should receive. They do not describe the level of difficulty.
Course Qualification (Study Option A)Endorsed Qualification from TQUK - Training Qualifications UK, an Ofqual Approved Awarding Organisation - Completed written assignments, plus final exam (N.B. Some courses have Final Project alternative).
Course Qualification (Study Option B)Certificate of Attainment from ADL - Completed written assignments only - no final exam.
Comparative Credits InformationUK Course Credits: 10 - U.S. Credit Hours: 3 - when compared to regulated courses.
Course Duration and Deadlines100 hours approx. Course hours given are a guide only. Work at your own pace with no assignment deadlines or completion date. You are in control!
Study SupportPersonal tutor/mentor support from industry relevant professionals throughout your whole course. Mentors are contactable by e-mail, telephone and through the online classroom. They provide assistance with your course material, plus discuss, explain and give advice when needed.
Suitability for Self Employment and Small BusinessesOur courses are ideal for sole traders and small business owners and their staff. Customer confidence in what you can do will determine how successful you are in getting clients. Completing one or more of our courses for the service you have to offer, will give you the tools to grow your business.
Recognition of Your Course By EmployersWe aim to achieve the correct balance between your qualification being recognised and providing you with the in-depth learning, to empower you to succeed. Select study option A when enrolling, so an employer can check the status of the awarding organisation for your qualification on the Ofqual Register.
Recognition of Your Course By UniversitiesPrevious students have used their qualification to get into university. However each one will have its own entrance criteria and acceptance may also depend on your other qualifications and experience.
Designing Your Own QualificationBundle up your choice of related courses to form your own qualification. Choose from a Diploma (6 courses), Advanced Diploma (8 courses) and Higher Advanced Diploma (12 courses.
How Can I Enrol?Online via eCommerce, by completing our Online Application Form, or by calling us on +44 (0) 1227 789 649. Lines open 9am till 5pm Monday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays and between Christmas and New Year.
How Can I Get a Pro-forma Invoice for my Employer?Contact us with details and we will email your employer an invoice. We will need: employer's name, address, telephone number, email address and contact name. We will also require your name, telephone number, email address, date of birth and the course and code you wish to enrol for.

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