Extension Specialist, Horticultural Plant Pathology
Dr. Angela Orshinsky is an extension specialist that was hired in August 2013 to work on diseases of horticultural crops. This means that she provides pathology expertise for crops as diverse as fruits and vegetables, turfgrass, hops, and ornamental plants. Over the course of her first year in Minnesota, she has become particularly involved with vegetable production and has visited several sites to investigate disease issues. Her vegetable work has helped to identify diseases on garlic, onion, cucumber, tomato, pepper, squash, and eggplant. Notable diseases that she focused on in tomato included leaf mold and Fusarium crown and root rot. The tomato leaf mold disease was particularly prevalent in high tunnels and caused severe defoliation of tomato plants in these structures. Fusarium crown and root rot were present at high levels in several locations. The Fusarium diseases are troubling as there are no fungicide options for treatment. Aster yellows was found in garlic again this year, although it seems that the likely cause was planting previously infected bulbs.
Angela’s work extended beyond vegetables in the past year. She visited golf courses across the state that were experiencing severe disease outbreaks. In addition, the turfgrass pathology portion of her program has been working with the Plant Disease Clinic (PDC) to provide diagnostic services to businesses, homeowners, and golf courses this summer. This past spring, Ascochyta blight of turfgrasses was particularly problematic on home lawns. A home lawn disease publication is underway and should become available as early as January to help assist homeowners with questions regarding diseases in their lawns. The hop industry is growing in Minnesota, and hops are not immune to diseases in Minnesota. She made site visits to hop yards and also ornamental production and landscape facilities, such as the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum to help identify plant disease problems. The diseases of importance at these locations included viruses of hops and bacterial blight on hydrangeas. For her extension program, Angela traveled as far north as Duluth and as far south as Dawson this year visiting various growing operations and gave talks at a variety of meetings, field days, and conferences.