Joan Allen
Assistant Extension Educator (2009 - present)
Research Assistant (2005 - 2008)
Phone: 860-486-6740
Fax: 860-486-6280


BS Forestry, Michigan Technological University, 1980

MS Plant Pathology, Cornell University, 1983

Identification of Plant Parasitic Nematodes Workshop, Clemson University, 2010


UNIV1820.012 Sustainability 360

PLSC3810 Guest lecturer, Plant Parasitic Nematodes

Plant Pathology and Plant Diagnostics for the UConn Master Gardener Certification Course

Research and Grants

My research projects have included field studies comparing organic control products for basil downy mildew funded by a NE SARE Partnership grant (2011 and 2012) and work evaluating fertilizer and pesticide treatments in greenhouse bedding plant production in cooperation with BioSafe Systems Inc. (2013). 

In partnership with UConn IPM professionals, grant funding has been received for lab equipment and supplies and diagnostic fees for IPM clients through a USDA NIFA Extension IPM grant. 

The UConn Plant Diagnostic Lab is a member of the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN) and the regional Northeast Plant Diagnostic Network (NEPDN). This program funded by USDA works to minimize the impact of introduced plant pests and pathogens by promoting early detection through training and education on important and threatening species and through the First Detector training program and materials.   


My responsibilities include the diagnosis of plant problems including pests, pathogens and abiotic disorders. The plant diagnostic laboratory (affiliated with the UConn Home & Garden Education Center) processes over 500 plant samples per year (2013) and provides information on prevention and/or control of plant problems. Clients include farmers, greenhouse and nursery businesses, Christmas tree growers, and home gardeners. Samples from commercial growers may come directly from the site or through visits by UConn IPM personnel. 

I work with others at UConn, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and other land grant universities in the northeast on workshops and other educational programs for Master Gardeners, growers and gardeners. Recent lectures and workshops include:


  • Organic Control of Basil Downy Mildew, CT Vegetable & Small Fruit Conference
  • New Diseases of Pear and Ash to Watch For, New England Grows
  • Plant Pathology for Master Gardeners, UConn MG Certification Course
  • Plant Diagnostics & First Detector Training, UConn MG Certification Course
  • Connecticut Curiosities, Connecticut Natural History Museum, Litchfield Extension Annual Business Meeting & community groups (2)
  • Non-chemical Control of Insect Pests in the Garden, Eighth grade classes at Sayles Middle School
  • Questions to Ask When Diagnosing Plant Problems, Diagnostic Workshop for CT Green Industry
  • Insects in the Vegetable Garden, Talk & Walk for the Fresh Program of New London, CT
  • Vegetable Disease ID & Management Talk & Walk, CT NOFA on farm program
  • Organic Control of Pests & Diseases in the Landscape, Extension Workshop for Landscape Professionals at the Northeast Division of the American Phytopathological Society Annual Meeting


  • Organic Disease Management in the Landscape, MA NOFA Organic Land Care Certification Course
  • Asian Longhorned Beetle and Emerald Ash Borer, Whisconier Middle School, Brookfield, CT
  • Asian Longhorned Beetle and Emerald Ash Borer, Fifth grade classes at Sayles Middle School
  • Hot Topics for Master Gardeners
  • Management of Plant Diseases in Vegetables, Old Sturbridge Village Garden Symposium
  • Organic Disease Management in the Landscape, RI NOFA Organic Land Care Certification Course
  • Boxwood decline and dieback, New England Grows
  • Plant Diagnostics & First Detector Training, UConn MG Certification Course
  • Plant Pathology for Master Gardeners, UConn MG Certification Course


Work related:

Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) committee

UConn IPM group

UConn Sustainable Living Team, article editor

Planning Committee for annual Perennial Plant Conference and Garden Conference

Non work related:

Board of Directors, Farm to Family non-profit, secretary

Board of Trustees, Simsbury Land Trust, trustee


I write on topics including plant diseases and their management using IPM and organic practices.  Along with diseases, I write on a variety of other topics including insect pest of the home and garden, animals, fungi, parasitic plants, how to grow fruits, plants and ornamentals in the home garden and assorted natural history topics. 

I write and update fact sheets that are posted on UConn websites including those for the UConn Home & Garden Education Center and the IPM websites for nursery, greenhouse and vegetable crops. 

My articles and work are published regularly in local newspapers, the UConn Home & Garden Center’s weekly blog ( ), quarterly Home & Garden Newsletter, local news websites, and grower newsletters.