Bursting the bubble on plant diseases

Self-diagnosing plant health problems correctly is no mean feat.

For many growers, an incorrect diagnosis is a costly reminder that disease symptoms aren’t always as they seem. The good news is that a few simple steps can lead to better informed decisions.

That’s the focus of ‘Diagnosing Plant Diseases’, a presentation being delivered at the upcoming Nursery & Garden Industry Australia (NGIA) National Conference being held on 19 – 21 February in Hobart, Tasmania.

Presenter, Dr Andrew Manners, from Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) Queensland has been working in production nursery pest and disease management for nearly 10 years. He will share his tips and insights on identifying disease and disease-like symptoms commonly found in production nurseries.

“When it comes to plant surveillance, it’s not enough to simply investigate just one part of the plant and expect to find the problem,” Dr Manners said.

“My 30-minute presentation will highlight to delegates how important it is to examine all parts of the plants, from roots to foliage, before reaching a conclusion.”

Dr Manners’ presentation will also look at the importance of growers’ keeping an open mind and incorporating best management practices.

“A surprising number of nurseries send in plant samples with problems caused by abiotic factors such as changes in temperature, nutrient toxicity, pH and electrical conductivity, so the topic of correct symptom diagnosis is highly relevant to growers. Other growers send in plants with foliar symptoms when root or crown rot are the actual problem,” Dr Manners said.

The presentation will be held Wednesday 21 February. For further information, please visit the NGIA website.

Dr Manners is the project lead for Building the resilience and on-farm biosecurity capacity of the Australian production nursery industry (NY15002).

The project is funded by Hort Innovation, using the nursery research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.

Project number: NY15002

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