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Fire blight worn on an apple
Fire blight work on apple

The Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology supports the tree fruit industry in New York State with applied research and extension programs that address both the immediate and longer-term needs of growers. 

Department faculty and staff work closely with Cornell Cooperative Extension fruit specialists and private crop consultants across the state and the nation and share key findings and disease-control recommendations directly with fruit growers throughout the Northeast.

This work is also integrated with other disciplines through Cornell's college-wide Tree Fruit and Berry Program Work Team.

Our outreach efforts include:

  • Conducting field trials to assess the advantages and limitations of new fungicides and monitoring disease progression through the season. Faculty member: Kerik Cox
  • Evaluating commercial samples to determine if, when, and where pathogens that cause apple scab and brown rot of stone fruits are becoming resistant to fungicides or to streptomycin, the antibiotic that provides the first line of defense against fire blight.  Faculty member: Kerik Cox
  • Studying Pseudomonas syringae, a bacterial pathogen that causes cankers and dieback on sweet cherries.  Faculty member: Julie Carroll.
  • Identifying viruses, including the recently introduced Plum pox virus. Faculty member: Marc Fuchs