Research Sites

Developing practical solutions to a local, national and international problem.



  • Develop and validate Best Management Practices
  • Develop treatments for soil, media, water, and plant material
  • Develop and assess sterilization and water purification systems
  • Understand disease epidemiology within nurseries environments


NORS-DUC Research Sites


As diagrammed below, the Forest Meadows Research Site contains eight individually fenced-in research plots enclosed within a secured perimeter fence with a single point of entry. Each research plot contains a 3.5 x 9 m. nursery bed that can be subdivided into two 3.5 X 4.5 m. beds. The 3.5 x 4.5 m. beds have separate drainage and water sampling areas as well as options for well or municipal source water through either drip or overhead irrigation.

The entire site has been developed to collect all water from the site into an evaporation pond for further studies or into collection tanks for disinfection and subsequent reuse in the nursery or release into the municipal sewer. Additionally, each water entry point in the system has been designed so effective monitoring of P. ramorum can be carried out.

Our second location, located at Deer Park on the Dominican campus, will reflect the same safeguards but have an open layout for larger studies. Once both sites are operational, Forest Meadows will primarily accommodate soil studies while Deer Park will favor plant-based studies. Both sites also contain additive features to allow for outfitting, as necessary, for future research into other pathogens of quarantine significance.  

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safeguarding nursery production

“The NORS-DUC will allow us to provide better guidance to the nursery industry to prevent invasive pathogen spread via shipment of ornamental plants, and thereby protect the health of our forests, wildlands and street trees.  The research will fill a major gap in our understanding of pathogen spread, so we are excited to see this experimental nursery become a reality.  It will propel the United States to become leaders in clean nursery-stock production worldwide.”
—Susan Frankel, Sudden Oak Death Research Program Manager, USDA Pacific Southwest Research Station

NORS-DUC will help safeguard nursery production through: 

  • the collection of valuable data that will aid in reducing the long range spread of  P. ramorum (and other plant pests and pathogens) through infested nursery stock shipments;
  • the validation of established and development of new Best Management Practices (BMPs) for nursery stock production;
  • new treatment or remediation options for soil, water and plant materials to exclude, contain and eradicate P. ramorum and other plant pathogens and pests;
  • the collection of valuable epidemiological data on new and emerging pests and pathogens on ornamentals; and
  • outreach to stakeholders through reporting and by providing training materials and technical assistance for use in quality operational manuals for small-scale nurseries.


camelliaflowerResearch Priorities

Stopping the Spread:

  • Effective, fast, reliable field diagnostic tools and methods for early detection and screening in plants, water, and soil.
  • Options for treating P. ramorum in soil
  • Research on water contamination, causes of repeat infested nurseries, potential pathways, and pathogen movement 
  • Applied science and methods (i.e. soil and soil treatments) for control and eradication
  • Disease indexing and other testing protocols that can be implemented to verify and assure propagative material entering the U.S. is disease free.
  • Efficacy of the 40 sample minimum protocol to detect P. ramorum in the P. ramorum federal regulation
  • Causes/pathways of repeat infested nurseries – sources of inoculum
  • Soil contamination testing and mitigation measures
  • Water contamination (i.e. genotyping of pathogen in water and nurseries)
  • Potential movement of pathways into, and within, nurseries and environment
  • Efficacy of the destruction lot size (CNP)
  • Validation of block buffer distance to control pathogen movement
  • Relationship and/or distribution of the pathogen in water and soil and its potential to infect plant material in nurseries and the environment 

Symptomless Hosts and Root Infections

  • Conditions and frequency when infections may be latent and symptoms not visible. 
  • Symptomless carriers and frequency and importance of root infection in horticultural crops.

Repeat/Recurrent Nurseries

  • Distinguish between repeat and recurrent nurseries. Genotype isolates for epidemiological studies, sources and pathways, modeling approaches and critical soil sampling focal points and distribution in nurseries. 
  • Proper nursery layout, procedures and protocols. Physical location, soil and water treatment options.

Buffers and Fungicides

  • Cross contamination between healthy and diseased plants in nursery settings.
  • Evaluate registered materials, biocontrol options, efficacy and management options.
  • Sanitation methods for disinfection of nursery beds, propagation facilities, pruning shears.