Gary W. Moorman, Ph.D.

  • Professor Emeritus
Gary W. Moorman, Ph.D.


  1. B.S., Botany, University of Maine
  2. M.S., Botany, University of Vermont
  3. Ph.D., Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University

Extension Program

The primary objective of the Ornamentals Plant Pathology Extension program was to teach commercial nurserymen and greenhouse operators, landscape maintenance personnel, pesticide applicators, and Extension educators how to detect, identify, and manage plant diseases. This entailed lectures, workshops, tours, internet conferences, telephone and internet consultations, and on-site visits to provide information on the biology of plant pathogens and their interactions with the plant and the environment.

In addition to being able to diagnose diseases, an important goal of the program was to teach clientele how to trace where disease began and then deal with those harbors in ways that sustainably prevent future outbreaks.

This work was done statewide and was coordinated with others who participated on the College of Agricultural Sciences Horticulture-Green Industry Work Group.

Teaching Program

Gary Moorman taught PPATH 300, Diseases of Horticultural Crops. This online course was composed of numerous videos, virtual lab exercises, and richly illustrated text-based lessons. Assignments included finding, photographing and diagnosing several different types of diseases of horticultural crops. Students had the opportunity to explore a topic of their choosing related to horticultural crop diseases by writing a special interest paper shared with the entire class.

Research Program

Integrated management of zoosporic pathogens and irrigation water quality for a sustainable green industry, was a $2.7M project funded by the USDA Specialty Crops Research Initiative for 2010-2015. The research was in collaboration with C. Hong, Ping Kong, Kevin K. Boyle, Darrell Bosch, Boris Vinatzer, and James Pease (Virginia Tech), John Lea-Cox (University of Maryland), Warren Copes (USDA, Poplarville, MS), Gladis Zinati (Rutgers University), and Edward Weiss (Christopher Newport University).  The mission of the work was to enable nurserymen and greenhouse operators to recycle irrigation water without recycling plant pathogens. Through the integration of research and extension activities that take system-based, trans-disciplinary approaches, our goal was to better understand the biology of species of Pythium and Phytophthora that pose serious threats to the production of ornamental plants and can be dispersed in production systems through contaminated irrigation water. Moorman’s lab worked on the detection and identification of species of Pythium in commercial greenhouses. Of particular interest was the characterization of bacterial communities associated with Pythium and irrigation water that may inhibit the life cycle of Pythium and/or the disease cycle of Pythium diseases. This research was also part of the multi-state Experiment Station project NC-1186, Water Management and Quality for Ornamental Crop Production and Health.

Recent Publications

  • Rosa, C., Moorman, G.W. 2016. Diseases of Geranium, p 1-33. In McGovern, R.J., Elmer, W.H. (ed), Handbook of Florists' Crops Diseases doi:10.1007/978-3-319-32374-9_34-1. Springer International Publishing, Cham.
  • Hong, C., Moorman, G. W., Wohanka, W., [edited by]. Biology, detection, and management of plant pathogens in irrigation water. St. Paul, MN: American Phytopathological Society, 2014.
  • Moorman, G. W., Walker, A-S., and May, S. 2012. First report of fenhexamid-resistant Botrytis cinerea causing gray mold on Heuchera in a North American greenhouse. Plant Disease 96:147.
  • Hong, C. X., Richardson, P. A., Hao, W., Ghimire, S. R., Kong, P., Moorman, G. W., Lea-Cox, J. D., and Ross, D. S. 2012. Phytophthora aquimorbida sp. nov. and Phytophthora taxon 'aquatilis' recovered from irrigation reservoirs and a stream in Virginia, USA. Mycologia doi:10.3852/11-055.
  • Garzón, C. D., Molineros, J. E., Yánez, J. M., Flores, F. J, Jiménez-Gasco, M. M., and Moorman, G. W. 2011. Sublethal doses of mefenoxam enhance Pythium damping-off of geraniums. Plant Disease 95:1233-1238.
  • Lee, S. H., Garzón, C. D., and Moorman, G. W. 2010. Genetic structure and distribution of Pythium aphanidermatum populations in Pennsylvania greenhouses based on analysis of AFLP and SSR markers. Mycologia 102-774-784.
  • Herath, P., G. A. Hoover, E. Angelini, and G. W. Moorman. 2010. Detection of elm yellows phytoplasma in elms and insects using real-time PCR. Plant Disease 94:1355-1360.
  • Gleason, M. L., Daughtrey, M. L., Chase, A. R., Moorman, G. W., and Mueller, D. S. 2009. Diseases of herbaceous perennials. APS Press. St. Paul, MN. 281 pp.
  • Kong, P., Moorman, G. W., Lea-Cox, J. D., Ross, D. S., Richardson, P. A., and Hong, C. 2009. Zoosporic tolerance to pH stress and its implications for Phytophthora species in aquatic ecosystems. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 75:4307-4314.
  • Hong, C., Lea-Cox, J. D., Ross, D. S., Moorman, G. W., Richardson, P. A., Ghimire, S. R., and Kong, P. 2009. Containment basin water quality fluctuation and implications for crop health management. Irrigation Science. Published online 18 June 2009. Springer-Verlag.
  • Ghimire, S. R. , Richardson, P. A. , Moorman, G. W. , Lea-Cox, J. D. , Ross, D. S. , Hong, C. X. 2009. An in situ baiting bioassay for detecting Phytophthora species in irrigation runoff containment basins. Plant Pathology 58:577-583.
  • Lee, S. H. and Moorman, G. W. 2008. Identification and characterization of simple sequence repeat markers for Pythium aphanidermatum, P. cryptoirregulare, and P. irregulare and the potential use in Pythium population genetics. Current Genetics 55:81-93.