Plant Certification is a system of monitoring and testing plants for the presence of undesired viral pathogens in combination with isolation and plant maintenance criteria.   

Certification is important for woody perennial crops like grapes and fruit trees. Grapes, fruit trees and other plants are susceptible to viruses that can reduce the quantity and quality of the crop. Continued testing monitors propagation blocks for viruses of concern. Viruses once introduced into a vineyard, orchard or nursery are spread by dagger nematodes and other vectors.

Virus-tested plant certification enables businesses to minimize the risk of viral pathogens in vineyards, orchards, or other plant systems. Viral pathogens reduce both quality and quantity of crops; certification minimizes the chance of virus infection.

Virus-Tested Plant Material Certification Program

New York’s Virus-Tested Plant Material Certification program is nursery-focused. Nurseries bring in foundation, virus-tested, clean budwood (scion) and cutting (rootstock) material (called “G1” material) from foundation sources that are part of the National Clean Plant Network (NCPN). The G1 plants are the “cleanest of the clean,” and many are derived from tissue-cultured material produced after therapeutic treatments eliminated existing viruses. 

Nurseries bulk up this material to produce the desired planting stocks. This is done in increase blocks (referred to as “G2 blocks”). Staff from the Department collect leaf samples for regular ongoing testing of the increase block (G2) at the nursery to catch any virus introductions. New York has established a system to test 25% of all vines in the increase block each year. In the course of four years 100% of the vines in the increase block will be tested. Samples are submitted to the Fuchs’ virology lab at Cornell University, in Geneva, New York. 

New York currently certifies Virus-Tested Vitis sp. (grapes) and Malus sp. (apple).

The Division of Plant Industry administers the Certification of Virus-Tested Plants under the authority of Article 14 of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law Prevention and Control of Disease in Trees And Plants, Regulations Part 150 Voluntary Program for the Production of Virus-Tested Plant Materials.

Find a list of participants in the Virus-Tested Plant Material Certification Program, below.