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By Max Erikson
Reporter 

Learn your plants

 

March 14, 2018



Whether you work with plants and trees as your profession or you are a practicing garden enthusiast, the First Detector training workshop, presented by Washington State University (WSU) Plant Diagnostician Rachel Bomberger, will teach participants how to detect and recognize invasive species and diseases on plants and gardens this year.

The first detector training is March 16 at the Klickitat County Fairgrounds in the WSU room from noon to 3 p.m. By completing the training participants can become a certified first detector. This training is open to the public, and Bomberger says it is great information for nursery workers, agriculture professionals, gardeners, or for people who work with plants on a regular basis.

This is a free educational event that will train attendees on how to identify and report evidence of plant disease, and learn to recognize an invasion of destructive bug populations.

“We will provide training for people to identify what an invasive species looks like and what patterns to look for,” Bomberger says. “We will show the difference between what disease looks like compared to what insect damage looks like. It’s our way to train people to know what abnormalities to find.”

Diseases that are common to the area such as Sudden Oak Death, Boxwood Blight, Thousands Cankers Disease, Verticillium Wilt, and Fire Blight will be discussed.

Sudden Oak death is common in oak trees but can also effect rhododendron bushes. These trees are infected through the trunk of the tree by a fungus-like plant pathogen.

Boxwood Blight is common fungal disease that effects urban landscape and border shrubs around homes and buildings. The blight initially presents itself with dark or light brown spots or with lesions on the leaves. The leaves typically turn brown or straw color then fall off. The disease is often fatal to young plants.

Thousands Cankers Disease is transmitted when little bug insects carrying a fungus on their legs bury their bodies into trees and exposes the tree to that fungus. This disease is the result of the combined activity of the fungus and the walnut twig beetle.

Verticillium Wilt is a highly common fungal infection that affects over 300 different plant species. The disease attacks herbaceous annuals and perennials as well as woody trees and shrubs. Plants that are infected can exhibit chlorosis, wilting, defoliation, and premature senescence.

Fire Blight is a destructive fungal infection that kills apple and pear trees, and other members of the rose family. Named for the scorched appearance of infected leaves, fire blight is a bacterial disease that enters the tree at the tips of the branches and travels down the stems causing dieback.

“We want people to know what a critical role they play in discovering and reporting diseases that they come across,” Bomberger says. “They are the ones on the ground and can relay that information to us.”

A certified first detector becomes part of the National Plant and Diagnostic Network (NPDN) which is an international organization. The NPDN was established in 2002 in response to the need to enhance agricultural security through protecting health and productivity of plants in agricultural and natural ecosystems in the U.S.

The specific purpose of the NPDN is to provide a cohesive system to quickly detect and identify pests and pathogens of concern. NPDN has developed an extensive network of first detectors through education and outreach, and has enhanced communication among public agencies and stakeholders responsible for responding to and limiting new outbreaks.

For more information or questions, call Hannah Brause at 773-5817 or email at hannah.brause@wsu.edu.

 

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