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For most people, the subject of plant diseases is probably the most daunting topic covered during Master Gardener training. To begin with, disease problems tend to strike fear in the hearts of gardeners, because they seem to come from nowhere and often lead to the death of a treasured plant. Furthermore, unlike insect pests, the organisms that cause plant diseases typically cannot be seen with the naked eye. This seems to make plant diseases all the more mysterious and certainly makes them extremely difficult to identify correctly. Often knowledge of the exact organism that causes a disease is necessary to determine an appropriate control.

The goal of this unit of Master Gardener training is to provide you with some basic background information on plant diseases, the organisms that cause these diseases, and methods for plant disease control. Hopefully, by the time you have completed this unit, you will also find out that plant disease-causing organisms are pretty amazing and actually kind of interesting!