Common Ornamental Plant Pests Pennsylvania Approval #00247P


6 credits: 18, 23
5 credits: PC, 06
2 credits: 05
1 credit: 07, 15

Pest management of ornamental plants involves multiple steps from growing a healthy plant that is more resistant to pest damage to correctly identifying the problem when present. This course will cover the most common pests of ornamental plants.
Also approved for Certified Crop Advisor Credit



Common Ornamental Plant Pests

Course Description

Pest management of ornamental plants involves multiple steps from growing a healthy plant that is more resistant to pest damage to correctly identifying the problem when present. This course will cover the most common pests of ornamental plants.  

After completing this course participants will be able to:

  • Identify common landscape weeds and outline how to manage them.
  • Identify common plant disorders and identify how to avoid them in the future.
  • Identify common plant diseases and outline how to manage them.
  • Describe nematode damage and explain why sampling prior to planting is important.
  • Identify common vertebrate and invertebrate pests and outline the best management strategy for each.

Chapter 1 – Weed Management in Ornamental Plantings

Lesson 1 

  • Weed Biology
    • Monocot vs dicot
    • Stages of plant development
    • Length of life cycle
  • Weed Identification
    • Grasses sedges
      • Quack Grass
      • Yellow Nutsedge
    • Herbaceous Broadleaves
      • Bittercress
      • Queen Anne's Lace
      • Yellow Woodsorrel
    • Other Common Weeds of Ornamentals
      • Horestail
      • Poison Ivy

Lesson 2 

  • Managing Landscape Weeds
    • Cultural Controls
      • Mulch
      • Landscape fabric
      • Sanitation
    • Mechanical Controls
    • Chemical Controls
      • Herbicide Characteristics
      • Contact vs Systemic
      • Selective vs Nonselective
      • Pre-Emergence vs Post-Emergence
      • Potential problems
      • Damage to ornamentals
      • Herbicide failure

Chapter 2 – Common Plant Disorders

Lesson 1 

  • Improper Growing Conditions
    • Too much or too little sun
    • Improper soil moisture
    • Improper nutrients
    • Hardiness and microclimates
  • Improper Cultural Practices
    • Improper planting depth
    • Overmulching
    • Girdling root
    • Poor soil drainage
    • Soil compaction

Lesson 2 

  • Mechanical Damage
    • Girdling ropes, wires, and vines
    • Mowers, string trimmers, other equipment
  • Construction Damage
  • Chemical Injury
    • Fertilizer, road salt, deicers
    • Phytotoxicity
  • Adverse Weather Conditions
    • Flooding
    • Drought and heat
    • Frost and freeze
    • Winter injury
  • Transplant Shock
  • Multiple or Unknown Causes

Chapter 3 – Plant Disease and Nematode Management in Ornamentals

Lesson 1 

  • Ornamental Plant Disease Management
    • Fungi
    • Bacteria
    • Viruses and virus-like organisms
    • Plant parasitic nematodes
  • Disease pyramid
  • Cultural Management and Avoiding Disease
  • Chemical Management
    • Protectant Fungicides
    • Systemic Fungicides
    • Soil Fumigants
  • Disease Symptoms and Signs
  • Fungi
  • Disease Identification
    • Anthracnose
    • Apple Scab
    • Black Spot of Roses
    • Cedar-Hawthorn or Cedar-Apple Rust
    • Crown Gall
    • Cytospora Canker of Spruce
    • Fire Blight
    • Oak Wilt
    • Phytophthora Root Rot
    • Powdery Mildews
  • Nematodes
    • Concerns
    • Sampling
    • Management

Chapter 4 – Invertebrate Pest Management

Lesson 1

  • Insects and Mites
    • Insect anatomy
    • Insect growth and development
    • Mite growth and development
  • Managing Insect and Mite Damage
    • Biological Control
      • Predators
      • Parasitoids
      • Parasites
      • Disease-causing pathogens
    • Chemical Management
    • Cultural Management
    • Mechanical Management
  • Invertebrate Pest Identification
    • Piercing, Sucking, and Rasping Mouthparts
      • Aphids
      • Cottony Maple Scale (soft scale)
      • Flower Thrips
      • Honeylocust Plant Bug and Honeylocust Leafhopper
      • Oystershell Scale (armored scale)
      • Potato Leafhopper
      • Sycamore Lace Bug
      • Tow-Spotted Spider Mite

Lesson 2 

  • Invertebrate Pest Identification (cont.)
    • Chewing Mouthparts
      • Birch Leafminer
      • Black Vine Weevil
      • Eastern Tent Caterpillar
      • European Pine Sawfly
      • Gypsy Moth
      • Japanese Beetle
    • Gall-Forming Insects
      • Eastern Spruce Gall Adelgid
    • Wood-Boring Insects
      • Bronze Birch Borer
      • Emerald Ash Borer
    • Slugs and Snails

Chapter 5 – Vertebrate Pest Management

Lesson 1 

  • Birds
  • Deer
  • Rabbits
  • Squirrels
  • Beavers
  • Voles

Final Assessment

Course instructors will be available by email or telephone between 8am and 6pm Eastern Standard Time. They will assist you with questions regarding course content.

If you have any questions, please call us at 1-800-727-7104 or send an email to Email responses will usually be returned promptly, but guaranteed within one business day.

Student policies and procedures are always available by going to our website and scrolling to the bottom of the page (See Attendance and Privacy Policy).

290,703 Courses Taken
First of all the phone conversions with Ellen and Brenda were absolutely delightful. Rarely have I had the pleasure to deal with such totally professional and able persons like you two. Courses were easy to understand. I learned a lot about Energy design as well as the new products for framing.  I would unconditionally recommend this course and your company to anyone. Keep up the great work and keep me on your mailing list!
Donald Davis - Pittsfield MA
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