Plant Pathology

Project leader: Phil Hamm, Emeritus Plant Pathologist
Laboratory Diagnostic Manager: Robert Cating

The plant pathology department works closely with local growers, processors, agricultural companies, research institutions, government agencies and faculty stationed on HAREC as well as national and international collaborators to further our understanding of plant diseases that impact crops at all stages of production. Duties include working with diseases of vegetable crops, directing a diagnostic laboratory for crop problems, potato seedlot trials and cooperating in applied research dealing with virus, fungus and nematode control of diseases in cucurbit, tomato, and potato, onion, and peppers.

General research subjects include:

  • Potato Virus Y (PVY) - Vector management, potato cultivar resistance, PVY disease symptom characterization, virus strain characterization
  • Management of Silver Scurf in potato
  • Management of Rhizoctonia canker and black scurf in potato
  • Management of soilborne plant pathogens such as Pythium spp., Fusarium spp., and Verticillium dahliae
  • Soil fumigation effects on soilborne plant pathogenic fungi
  • Nematode management
  • Potato Mop Top Virus (PMTV)
  • Beet Leafhopper Transmitted Viresence Agent (BLTVA)
  • Diseases of grass grown for seed production
  • Corn smut
  • Triticum mosaic virus (a.k.a High plains virus) and other viruses impacting Sweet Corn
  • Oregon potato seed-lot trials
  • Efficacy of alternative soil fumigant application methods


 Our research collaborators include:

  • Washington State University
  • University of Idaho
  • USDA ARS both in Washington and Idaho
  • Oregon Department of Agriculture
  • Agri Northwest
  • RDO
  • Bud Rich
  • JHS Farms
  • River Point Farms
  • Blue Mountain Potato Growers
  • Washington State Potato Commission
  • Oregon Potato Commission
  • Columbia Basin Grass Seed Growers Association
  • Washington State Commission on Pesticide Application
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