Our chapter’s guest speaker for the October 2017 dinner meeting was Dr. Hillary Mehl. Dr. Mehl is a plant pathologist and extension specialist with the Virginia Tech Tidewater Agriculture and Research Extension Center in Suffolk.
Dr. Mehl’s presentation covered plant pathology which is the study of plant diseases and their management. She gave some examples of the types of diseases that affect plants and described many of the symptoms of the diseases.
She described what she referred to as the “plant disease triangle” to explain the overall approach to identify what pathogens are present, how susceptible or resistant the host plant is and if weather conditions are conducive to disease development. All of these factors must be considered in order to develop an integrated disease management plan.
She further explained some of the things that are included in an integrated disease management plan, such as sanitation, crop rotation, chemical control, biological control as well as crop host resistance factors. Plant pathologists strive to prevent and manage plant diseases using the most economically and environmentally sustainable approaches.
The presentation concluded with a case study of Fusarium Head Blight (wheat disease) to show how all of these factors are utilized to control plant diseases.
If you have any general questions regarding plant diseases or have a specific plant problem, you can contact Dr. Mehl via email at .