PPEM 318: Diseases of Forest and Shade Trees (Spring 2018)

Diseases of Forest and Shade Trees, is a practical, hands-on, lab and lecture course designed primarily for forestry and landscape-contracting students.


  • Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology


PPEM 318 Diseases of Forest and Shade Trees is designed to provide students with practical, hands-on knowledge of tree diseases, including diagnosis control, management, importance, and biology. While diseases significant to Pennsylvania will be emphasized, other “type-diseases” will be discussed to provide larger context.

Course Logistics

Lecture Instructor: Dr. Donald D. Davis, Professor, Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology
Office: 323 Buckhout Lab
Phone: 814-865-1689

Lab Instructor: Rob Harvey, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology
Office: 401 Buckhout Lab

Office hours: Open-door policy, just stop in. Emailing first will help ensure we are around.

Class Meeting Times: Tues/Thurs | 12:05-1:20 p.m.
Class Location: 103 Buckhout Lab

Text: None required. There will be reading assignments from an online reference. The optional printed resources are helpful.

Online reference: (Required for reading assignments)

Hard cover texts: (Optional)

  • Diseases of Trees and Shrubs. Dr. Wayne Sinclair, Cornell Press
  • Branching Out. Dr. George Hudler, Cornell Press

Course Objectives

  1. After course completion, students will be able to survey their environment and identify evidence of both pathogenic and saprophytic organisms, with emphasis on fungi.
  2. Students will develop a better understanding of tree disease management techniques and apply this knowledge to develop site-specific management plans, effectively utilizing different resources such as disease outreach fact sheets.
  3. Students will be able to recognize important/common forest diseases and fungal saprobes.
  4. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to explain and define basic plant pathology terms and concepts.

Course Assessment and Grading

Exams 1-2 (150 pts each) 300
Exam 3 75
8 Lab sheets (10 pts each) 80
6 Pop Quizzes (10 pts each) 60
Quiz 7 20
Disease collection* 150
Attendance 50

*Rubrics will be distributed at the pertinent time.
Letter grades (A, A-; B+, B, B-; C+, C; D, and F) will be assigned based on percentage of points achieved.

Examination Policy/Attendance Policy

Exams will be given during the Tuesday lecture period. Students with valid excuses will be permitted to make up the exam. For pre-planned/known events we ask that you contact Lab Instructor to let us know you will be missing an exam (or class, lab, quiz, etc.), preferably a week prior. For unknown events (family emergency, sudden illness, etc.) we ask that you let us know at your earliest convenience. Other acceptable excuses include (but are not limited to): athletic events (if you are participating), conferences, job interviews, and religious observations. Attendance in both lecture and lab will be assessed at several random times during the semester, culminating in 50 points (see above section).

Tentative Course Schedule

Course schedule is subject to change.

1 1/9 Lecture Introduction to plant pathology, terminology
1/11 Lab NO LAB
2 1/16 Lecture Introduction to fungi
1/18 Lab Lab 1: Introduction to plant pathology/fungi
3 1/23 Lecture Leaf diseases of hardwoods
1/25 Lab Lab 2: Leaf diseases
4 1/30 Lecture Stem cankers of hardwoods
2/1 Lab Lab 3: Cankers
5 2/6 Lecture EXAM 1
2/8 Lab Discuss lab project/presentation
6 2/13 Lecture Vascular wilts and elm yellows
2/15 Lab Lab 4: Wilts
7 2/20 Lecture Guest lecturer: Management of trees on campus
2/22 Lab Case study: Verticillium wilt as a biocontrol
8 2/27 Lecture Rusts
3/1 Lab Lab 5: Rusts
3/6 No Lecture SPRING BREAK
3/8 No Lab
9 3/13 Lecture Root diseases
3/15 Lab Lab 6: Root diseases
10 3/20 Lecture EXAM 2
3/22 Lab Case study: Thousand cankers disease of black walnut
11 3/27 Lecture Decay I
3/29 Lab Lab 7: Decay I
12 4/3 Lecture Decay II
4/5 Lab Lab 8: Decay II and conks
13 4/10 Lecture Hazard trees
4/12 Lab Lab 9: Decay indicators and conks
14 4/17 Lecture Guest lecturer
4/19 Lab Work on project
15 4/24 Lecture EXAM 3
4/26 Lab Work on project
16 4/30-5/4 Finals week (NO FINAL EXAM)

Disease projects are due by 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 1.

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