Plant diseases in the garden

Our research into plant diseases is helping gardeners make informed choices on plants and control methods

Rust on pear leafPlant pathology is the science of plant diseases that either kill or reduce the ability of a plant to survive, produce flowers or fruit. They are caused by micro-organisms normally referred to as pathogens; which include fungi, bacteria and viruses.

RHS Plant Pathologists work across several aspects of plant diseases.

Our pathologists give advice to gardeners on how to control diseases and they study the biology and classification of new and important garden pathogens such as Phytophthora. This is a fungus-like pathogen that contains many different species and can affect a wide range of plants, making them unsightly or causing them to die or under-perform.

Projects on plant diseases

Our plant pathology work covers several aspects of plant diseases, from their control and the study of their biology and taxonomy to offering gardeners the latest advice about garden pathogens.

Find out more about RHS projects on diseases

Plant disease publications

The work of the plant pathologists is published in several international journals including Plant Pathology, Plant Disease, Mycologia, Mycological Research,and The Mycologist, as well as several RHS publications.

Find out about the publications


With your support, we can undertake valuable research into gardening pests and diseases.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.