The TPCP/CTHB Diagnostic Clinic serves the member companies of the TPCP with diagnoses and advice with regards to tree disease problems. For the past few years Darryl Herron, a FABI PhD student, has been the manager of the team, working alongside the TPCP extention officer, Izette Greyling. The team also include several other students who do the laboratory component of the diagnostic work. 

Last week saw the TPCP/CTHB Diagnostic team go on their annual training trip. The trip was set against the Soutpansberg of the Limpopo and between the beautiful valleys and ravines of Mpumalanga. The aim, every year, is to introduce the clinic members to some of the foresters and nurserymen in the areas visited during the trip. It is also a fantastic way to get the students acquainted with the common pests and diseases affecting forestry in South Africa – a hands on experience envied by many.

Some of the familiar plant diseases encountered on this trip included pitch canker and Armillaria root rot of pine; bacterial wilt and MLB (Mycosphaerella leaf blotch) of Eucalyptus; and pink disease on yellow wood. The clinic members were also able to see Leptocybe invasa (gall wasp), Thaumastocoris peregrinus (bronze bug), Glycaspis brimblecombei (Red gum lerp psyllid) and Coryphodema tristis (Cossid moth) on a variety of Eucalyptus clones. 

Pests and diseases were not the only part of the trip, however. The clinic members were fortunate enough to go on two nursery tours where they learned more about the running of a nursery, tree breeding, seedling and cutting production and the value a diagnostic clinic has in managing pests and diseases. The Diagnostic Clinic would like to thank SLM, Molozi Trust, Merensky, Subtrop, Sappi and York for taking us out into your plantations and around your nurseries so that we can continue teaching our students about forestry and the importance various pests and diseases have on the industry.