Summer Diagnostics courses

To be scheduled June 14-25, 2021 (scheduled for 4-week Session 2). Columbus campus. In person, class capacity is 16.  2 credits.  Tentatively to be scheduled if in-person classes are allowed.  Instructor, Francesca Hand (

Online class, also scheduled for Summer 2021:  PLNTPTH 5060 - Practical Experiences in Plant Health: Insects & Diseases of Plants
2 credits.  8-week Session 2 (June 8-August 4, 2021).  Entirely online - Distance Learning.  Instructor Nikki Tate (


Plant Disease Diagnosis (PLNTPTH 5685) is a hands-on field and laboratory class that is taken in person. This class is offered in the summer as an intensive, 2-week course in Columbus and Wooster (next offering, June 14-25, 2021/4-week Session 2/ in Columbus).

This course is typically taken after at least one year in the program.  In this course, students learn, firsthand, the skills and techniques used to diagnose plant health problems.  The on-site requirement is an excellent chance to interact with faculty, staff and students, view a variety of plant production practices on field trips, and network with plant health professionals.  Contact us for suggestions if housing is needed from out-of town.

> More course info

Estimated Costs for this course

Estimated Tuition/fees

  • $1507.20 Ohio resident rate (2 credits)
  • $4063.40 Non-Ohio resident rate (2 credits)

Other expenses

No textbooks are required.  Some reading material will be required and posted on Carmen or provided as handouts.  Recommended: hand lens.

Course Objectives

  • Students should be able to diagnosis important plant diseases and identify the pathogen associated with a specific disease.
  • Students should have an understanding of the principle techniques used in plant disease diagnostics and have the ability to select and use the most appropriate technique for the diagnosis.
  • Students should be able to write disease diagnosis reports pertinent to the intended audience.
  • Students will be able to describe, in oral form, their experiences in diagnosing an unknown plant disease.


  • Opening comments and expectations for class, Signs and symptoms as they pertain to diagnosis of plant diseases, Important Vegetable Diseases – symptoms and signs,Important Field Crop Diseases – symptoms and signs, Field Trip – Vegetable and Field Crops Disease Tour,  Use and care of microscopes, Triage procedures – handling plant samples entering the diagnostic lab, Classical strategies and techniques for successful fungal and oomycete pathogen identification
  • Assignment of Unknowns, Review of classical strategies for bacterial identification: gram reaction, microscopy, media, biochemical tests, fatty acid analysis, Koch’s postulates, Principles of PCR and review of molecular strategies for bacterial identification, PCR lab – PCR for bacteria, fungi, phytoplasmas
  • Principles of Immunoassay and Use in the Diagnosis and Detection of Bacteria and Fungi, ELISA, lateral flow, immunofluorescence, Diagnosing Diseases Caused by Viruses: Lecture and Lab, Serology, RT-PCR, electron microscopy, inoculations,Work on Unknowns, Exercises, Reports and Presentations
  • National Plant Diagnostic Network, Using online capabilities and PDIS, Work on Unknowns, Exercises, Reports and Presentations
  • Important Turfgrass Diseases – symptoms and signs, Important Urban Tree Diseases – symptoms and signs, Important Ornamental Plant Diseases – symptoms and signs, Field Trip: Turf/Ornamentals/Landscape
  • Diseases of Fruit Crops,  Fruit Pathology Field Trip, Work on Unknowns, Exercises, Reports and Presentations, Work on Unknowns, Exercises, Reports and Presentations
  • Diagnosing Diseases Caused by Nematodes, Nematode Diagnosis Lab, Work on Unknowns, Exercises, Reports and Presentations
  • Presentations by Students – Diagnostics Reports
  • Final Exam