Plant Health

Plant Pathology Student Internship

Each year, the Healthy Plants and Bilingual Education program offers a summer internship to a student interested in learning more about the nursery and greenhouse industry. 

Contact Luisa Santamaria @ to learn more about this annual opportunity. Applications are usually accepted beginning in March of each year.

Plant Health Program at the North Willamette Research & Extension Center


  • Enhance profitability, efficiency and sustainability of nurseries providing training opportunities to nursery workers in different aspects of plant health.
  • Improve nursery management practices.
  • Deliver research-based information to nursery and greenhouse growers to prevent and manage plant diseases based on the needs and priorities for the Oregon nursery industry.

The Plant health program contains two areas:

1. Applied research

Current research

  • Efficacy of Management Tools for Pythium Root rot.  IR-4 program - efficacy test in ornamentals.
  • Plant – microorganism interaction:
  • Isolation of nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria from Oregon soils, as a potential source of biofertilizer or as soil-pathogen suppressor.

Recent research in Plant Pathology

  • Verticillium evaluation. “Potential transferability of Verticillium dahliae when using ornamental bare-root tree wood waste for a potential alternative substrate”
  • Fungicide resistance:  Screening of Mefenoxam resistance of Pythium spp. isolates from nursery soils.

2. Education and Outreach

I want to promote plant health in different settings and target different audiences. The education and outreach program area includes the development of workshops, articles and publications useful to the nursery and greenhouse industries, and also an active interaction with members of the industry to understand production problems related with plant health.  The following education programs are offered in English and Spanish:

  1. Plant health education program.
  2. IPM training for workers in the Christmas tree industry. 
  3. Food Handling Safety "Train the Trainer" workshops.


I have also developed an internship program for high school students motivated in sciences and agriculture.

 High School Scholar Outreach and Education Program.

Program Contact

  • Luisa Santamaria, Nursery Crops Extension Specialist— Plant Pathologist and Bilingual Educator.


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Maple leaves with damage.