Plant Pathology Online Course

Plant Pathology Online Course
Full Fee $595.00 incl GST - Best Value!
Payment Plan $800.00 incl GST
Duration 100 hrs (12 months)
Exam Optional
Includes Lessons, Quizzes, Final Test, Certificate
Qualification Certificate

  • Enhance your career or job prospects in horticulture or farming
  • Improve your ability to grow plants
  • Understand the science of plant disease
  • Become skilled at diagnosing and understanding plant diseases.

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.

Course Aims:

  • 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

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    Detailed Course Outline

    This course is made up of a number of lessons or units.  Each of these has self assessment questions, a set task (practical homework) and an assignment which you can upload online.  Click below to read about each of the lessons and what you will learn.

    There are 8 lessons in this course:


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

    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

    The Life-cycle 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

    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

    Selected Pathogen Diseases Ornamental

      • 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

    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

    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

    Special Project

    When you have completed the lessons of your Certificate course, you will be given the option of taking the optional exam. It's okay if you don't want the exam, we still issue your Careerline Certificate. For Advanced Certificates however, the exam is compulsory (per module) and are included in the course fee.

    Course Tutor(s)

    Barbara Tremain BSc. (Hons) Horticulture, RHS Adv. Cert,. RHS General, City & Guilds Garden Design, Permaculture Level 3 (UK)

    Barbara brings to Careerline a wide range of horticultural experience and knowledge Barbara has a keen interest in herbalism, edible wild plants and has lead into studies of many plant based complementary medicinal systems, qualification as a Bach Flower remedy practitioner and studying Ethnobotany. Barbara has practiced and studied horticulture as well as combining it with her love of travel in many countries including the UK, US and Australia and has also studied Permaculture and runs her own horticulture business. Within the past two years she have also worked for Groundwork SW with 18-24 year old unemployed people, this work and the mentoring scheme has allowed me to teach informally. It has been a delight to nurture the interests of keen learners in horticulture and garden design. Meanwhile the business has covered a variety of Garden Design projects, from wildflower gardens to seaside situations, and has included some work with Chelsea Gold multi-winner John Moreland.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can I pay in installments?

    Yes! We offer great payment plans, however full payment up front is the cheapest. You can choose the best payment plan for you from the course page, or call us on 07 55368782 to talk to one of our course consultants for a custom plan.

    Can I study from anywhere in the world?

    We have many international students. Careerline's range of courses are suitable for any one, anywhere in the world.

    Do I get a discount if I enroll in a second course?

    Yes. You may claim a 5% fee discount when you enroll in a second course, and a further 10% off a three-course package.


    Do I have to sit an Exam?

    No. If you are enrolled in a Certificate course (100hrs), the exam is optional. You will be issued with a certificate which proves that you are competent in all units, if you choose not to sit the exam.

    Do you have set start dates?

    There are no set start dates, you may start at any time. Our courses are all self-paced. As our home page says, ‘Courses for Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime’. ‘Anytime’ includes the start time of your choice. However, we do encourage our students to submit assignments on a regular basis. Wherever possible, we suggest developing a study routine.