Register for the online Abiotic Disorders of Greenhouse Crops Course

The course will guide you through the diagnostic process to learn what cultural, environmental, or nutritional factors can cause plant symptoms in greenhouse crops.

Abiotic disorder on geranium plant
The abiotic disorders course covers plant disorders of greenhouse crops that are caused by cultural, environmental or nutritional factors. Photo by W. Garrett Owen.

Registration for the online Abiotic Disorders of Greenhouse Crops Course in Michigan State University Extension’s College of Knowledge is now open. Growers or other interested professionals register for this award-winning program by signing up until Dec. 15, 2023. 

Course information

Michigan State University Extension partnered with University of Kentucky Extension to prepare this course on abiotic or physiological disorders. Abiotic plant problems are those that are caused by non-living things, such as cultural or environmental conditions. This course is intended for greenhouse and ornamental plant growers interested in learning how insect pests, disease, nutrition, and the greenhouse environment and cultural practices affects plant growth thereby inducing or contributing to the onset of abiotic disorders of greenhouse crops. This course will guide you through the diagnostic process to learn what abiotic factors can cause plant problems causing top growth symptoms (on either foliage, stem or flower buds) or root symptoms. The cost to take the course is $129.

The course material for Abiotic Disorders of Greenhouse Crops is available to registrants from December to March 15, 2024. The pre-recorded course is instructed with Michigan State University’s online course learning management system, Desire-2-Learn by Heidi Lindberg, greenhouse and nursery extension educator with MSU Extension. W. Garrett Owen, former outreach specialist with MSU and current assistant extension professor in the Department of Horticulture at The Ohio State University, developed the content. Participants enrolled in this self-paced course will take a pre-test and a final exam to gauge their learning of the topics. Self-assessment quizzes will engage students with the material throughout the course after watching the video for the unit. The course also provides links to additional resources on pertinent abiotic disorders of greenhouse crop topics.

The first unit of the course covers an introduction to physiological disorders of greenhouse crops. In units two and three, abiotic disorders that cause plant symptoms on the foliage, buds or roots are discussed. The fourth unit covers methods of substrate and leaf tissue testing in order to help diagnose plant physiological disorders. Unit 5 discusses symptoms that affect plant development and flower initiation including light intensity, photoperiod, ethylene and other environmental factors. The last unit covers plant symptoms caused by chemical phytotoxicity and herbicide damage, which can be confused with physiological disorders in crops.

NEW! Now available in Spanish

Abiotic Disorders of Greenhouse Crops (Trastornos abióticos de cultivos de invernadero) is available in Spanish for the first time this December.

Qualifies for Plant Health Professional Certificate Program

In May 2022, Michigan State University Extension and University of Florida IFAS announced a new collaborative certificate program where growers and technical staff in the greenhouse and controlled environment industry can gain a new qualification in plant health management. This brings together two award-winning online training programs offered by UF IFAS and MSU Extension. Abiotic Disorders of Greenhouse Crops is one of six courses that growers can take to qualify for the new plant health certificate program. Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers is the other online course currently open for registration that qualifies towards the certificate program through MSU Extension. There has been nine graduates of the certificate program to date.

Available scholarships and incentives

For the 2023-2024 session, there are three scholarships available for those interested in the course but do not have the financial means to take it. Greenhouse growers interested in the scholarship will be able to apply for it upon registering by writing a short paragraph about why you should be awarded this scholarship and how you plan to use the information in your business or professional endeavors. The applicants and winners will be kept confidential. The cost of the course will be reduced to $39.99 for scholarship winners.

Complete the course and be entered to win a $75 gift card (U.S. residents only). Once students have paid for the course, completed the pre-test, final exam and the post-course evaluation, they will be eligible to be in entered into a drawing for a $75 gift card.

Growers can register for the other three courses using the links below.

Winter Course 2023-2024 Registration is Now Open!

English Courses Spanish Courses
Abiotic Disorders of Greenhouse Crops Trastornos abióticos de cultivos de invernadero
Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers Control Biológico para Cultivadores en Invernaderos
Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting Iluminación para Horticultura e Invernaderos
Root Zone Management Manejo de la Zona Radicular

The MSU Extension College of Knowledge is supported by the USDA, Kansas State, MSU Ag BioResearch, Project GREEEN, the Kee Kitayama Research Foundation, Kansas State University, University of Florida, and The Ohio State University.

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