Oregon Department of Agriculture Plant Health Program

Latest revision: 
March 2023

The major goal of the Oregon Department of Agriculture's Plant Health Program is to protect and enhance Oregon's agricultural industries, environment, and quality of life by providing diagnostic services, testing, surveys, and certification for plant pests and diseases. The Plant Health Program supports the specialty seed and nursery industries by offering services that enable Oregon growers and farmers to meet requirements for both domestic and export markets. Plant Health performs statewide surveys to establish pest-free status for the state of Oregon or for specific regions or counties within the state. In addition, general plant pest and disease diagnostic services are offered for industry, licensed landscapers, and others.

Contact Information:

Plant Health Program
Oregon Department of Agriculture
635 Capitol Street NE
Salem, OR 97301
Main office: (503) 986-4620
Website: http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/programs/PlantHealth/Pages/default.aspx

Plant Pest and Disease Diagnostics

Plant Health provides general diagnostic services for the nursery and Christmas tree industries and for other governmental agencies. The lab offers testing for the following plant pathogens: bacteria, fungi, nematodes, phytoplasmas, and viruses. Plant Health works in collaboration with the Insect Pest Prevention and Management Program (IPPM) for diagnosing insect-related diseases. Samples can be submitted directly to the lab by mail or in person.

Cannabis Diagnostics

Plant Health can provide disease diagnostics services for both the industrial hemp and marijuana industries. Cannabis samples for diagnosis must be submitted in person.

Seed Testing

Plant Health provides laboratory testing services to detect seedborne fungi, bacteria, nematodes, pests, noxious and invasive weeds, and other miscellaneous problems on seeds of grasses, clover, alfalfa, flowers, and other crops. Testing is also provided for endophytes (Neotyphodium spp.) in grass seed. These tests are done at the request of seed producers to meet national and international phytosanitary requirements.

Field Inspection

Plant Health provides field inspection services for official phytosanitary certification to meet the quarantine requirements of Oregon's international and domestic customers. Program participation is voluntary and provided at the request of seed companies and growers. Fields are inspected for seedborne diseases, including mint (Verticillium wilt), potato (late blight; Phytophthora infestans), and Allium (white rot; Sclerotium cepivorum).

Virus Testing & Certification

Plant Health offers official testing and certification for nurseries to help them meet requirements for both domestic and export markets. Testing for Vaccinum spp. for Blueberry shock virus and Blueberry scorch virus is provided at the request of growers for compliance with interstate quarantine rules. The virus certification program for ornamental and fruit trees has been actively supporting Oregon growers since 1977. Under this program, nursery stock is grown under a regularly audited system to manage multiple viruses, viroids, and phytoplasmas of regulatory significance.

Sudden Oak Death Program

Sudden oak death (SOD), caused by the oomycete Phytophthora ramorum, causes widespread dieback of tanoak and many woody ornamental species that are important commodities in the nursery industry. SOD has been present in the coastal woodlands of Curry County, Oregon since 2001. As a result, the county was put under a partial quarantine, which restricts the movement of host material outside the quarantine. All nurseries that have been confirmed positive for P. ramorum since 2011, and ship host material both within and out of state, participate in a USDA-regulated program. The program is administered jointly by the Plant Health and the Nursery & Christmas Tree Programs at ODA.

Official Surveys

Plant Health, in collaboration with other state and federal programs, conducts official surveys and testing for regulated plant pests and diseases throughout the state. This work is essential to maintain free-from status for Oregon (at the state, regional, or county level), enabling export of commodities for the agricultural and horticultural industries. It also serves as a first line of defense against invasive species, which could cause environmental and economic damage. In recent years, surveys have been completed for karnal bunt (Tilletia indica), Plum pox virus, and onion smut (Urocystis cepulae), among many others.