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Department of Plant Pathology

Dr. Megan Kennelly

Dr. Megan Kennelly

Professor/Department Head
Director of Graduate Program for Plant Pathology

Email Dr. Kennelly

Kansas State University
4603 Throckmorton PSC
1712 Claflin Road
Manhattan, KS 66506

Ph: +1-785-532-1387
Fx: +1-785-532-5692

Biography & Education


I grew up in Wisconsin and developed a life-long interest in plants while exploring the state parks and forests. I earned a B.S. in Botany from UW-Madison, where I gained research experience studying fungal diseases of cranberries. I earned a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from Cornell University.

My dissertation work focused on the epidemiology and management of grapevine downy mildew, including 3 field seasons working in South Australia. I studied fire blight, an important and potentially devastating bacterial disease of apples, at Michigan State, as a postdoctoral research associate. I started my position at KSU in 2006. My program includes research, extension, and diagnostics for horticultural commodities (turfgrasses, trees, ornamentals, fruits, and vegetables.)

I have mentored several undergraduate and graduate students. In addition to my research and extension roles, I am active in the American Phytopathological Society (APS) and have served in editorial board roles for several APS journals.

  • Ph.D. Plant Pathology, Cornell University, 2005
  • B.S. Botany, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1999


My extension program covers a wide array of horticultural commodities, including turfgrass, ornamentals, trees, fruits, and vegetables. I work with diverse audiences in diverse settings. I develop and deliver education programming through traditional face-to-face presentations, hands-on workshops, print publications, and various online delivery systems. I also handle disease diagnostics for commercial horticulture crops that are submitted to our Plant Disease Diagnostic lab.

One key piece of my extension program delivery is the K-State Turf and Landscape blog.


  • Miller, G.L., Earlywine, D.T., Braun, R., Fry, J.D., Kennelly, M.M. 2016. Influence of nitrogen source and application timing on large patch of zoysiagrass. Crop, Forage, & Turfgrass Management. DOI: 10.2134/cftm2015.0189.
  • Masterson, S.A., Kennelly M.M, Janke R.R., Rivard C L. 2016. Microclimate and Scion Leaf Removal to Improve the Success of Grafted Tomato Seedlings. HortTechnology26:261-269.
  • Braun, R., Fry, J, Kennelly M, Bremer D, Griffin J. 2016. Colorant application volume and color persistence on a ‘Chisolm’ zoysiagrass lawn. HortTechnology26:314-319.
  • Kennelly, M.M and Hoyle, J.A. 2015. Assessing Impact of Online Delivery of Turfgrass and Landscape Information. Journal of Extension. Online. 53:5TOT4.
  • Thompson, C., Fry, J., Kennelly, M., Sousek, M., and Reicher, Z. 2014. Seasonal timing of glyphosate application influences control of Poa trivialis. Applied Turfgrass Science. Online. doi:10.2134/ATS-2013-0044-BR.
  • Ostrander, J.C., Todd, R.B., and Kennelly, M.M. 2014. Resistance of Kansas Sclerotinia homoeocarpa isolates to thiophanate-methyl and determination of associated ß-tubulin mutation. Plant Health Progress. Online. doi:10.1094/PHP-RS-13-0120.
  • Obasa K, Fry J, Bremer D, Street John R, Kennelly M. 2013. Effect of cultivation and timing of nitrogen fertilization on large patch disease of zoysiagrass. Plant Disease. 97:1075-1081.
  • Johnson, W.A., J.R. Nechols, R.A. Cloyd, D. Rotenberg and M.M. Kennelly. 2012. Effect of light intensity on Brassica rapa chemistry and Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae) life history traits. J. Entomol. Science. 47(4): 327-349.
  • Gonzalez, B.R. and Kennelly, M.M. 2012. Sensitivity of Kansas isolates of Sclerotinia homoeocarpa to boscalid. Online. Plant Health Progress doi:10:1094/PHP-2012-0402-01-RS.
  • Obasa, K.C., Fry, J.D., Kennelly, M.M. 2012. Evaluation of new freeze-tolerant zoysiagrass germplasm to large patch, caused by Rhizoctonia solani. HortScience 47:1252-1256.
  • Johnson, W.A., R.A. Cloyd, J.R. Nechols, K.A. Williams, N.O. Nelson, D. Rotenberg and M.M. Kennelly. 2012. Effect of nitrogen source on pac choi (Brassica rapa L.) chemistry and interactions with the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella L.). J. Hort. Science 47:1457-1465.
  • Okeyo, D.O., Fry, J.D., Bremer, D., Rajashekar, C.B., Kennelly, M.M., Chandra, A., Genovesi, D.A., Engelke, M.C. 2011. Freezing tolerance and seasonal color of experimental zoysiagrasses. Crop Science 51:2829-2839.
  • Thompson, C.S., Fry, J.D. and Kennelly, M.M. 2011. Evaluation of Conventional and Alternative Products for Silvery-thread Moss Control in Creeping Bentgrass. Applied Turfgrass Science. doi:10.1094/ATS-2011-1018-01-RS.
  • Thompson, C.S., Kennelly, M.M. and Fry, J.D. 2011. Effect of Nitrogen Source on Silvery-thread Moss on a Creeping Bentgrass Putting Green. Applied Turfgrass Science. doi:10-1094/ATS-2011-1018-02-RS
  • Kennelly, M.M., Gadoury, D.M., Wilcox, W.F., Magarey, P.A. and Seem, R.C. 2007. Primary infection, lesion productivity and survival of sporangia in the grapevine downy mildew pathogen, Plasmopara viticola. Phytopathology 97:512-522.
  • Kennelly, M.M., Gadoury, D.M., Wilcox, W.F. and Seem, R.C. 2007. Vapor activity and systemic movement of mefenoxam control downy mildew of grapevine. Plant Disease 91:1260-1264.
  • Kennelly, M.M., Gadoury, D.M., Wilcox, W.F., Magarey, P.A. and Seem, R.C. 2007. Addressing the gaps in our knowledge of grapevine downy mildew for improved forecasting and management. Online. Plant Health Progress doi:10-1094/PHP-2007-0726-03-RV
  • Kennelly, M.M., Cazorla, F.M., de Vicente, A., Ramos, C. and Sundin, G.W. 2007. Pseudomonas syringae diseases of fruit trees: progress towards understanding and control. Plant Disease 91:4-17.
  • Kennelly, M.M., O'Mara, J., Pierzynski, J., Hilbert, W. and Appel, J. 2007. Hosta Virus X detected in Kansas. Online. Plant Health Progress. doi:10.1094/PHP-2007-0926-01-BR.


My research covers many horticultural commodities, with a focus on integrated disease management. My students have conducted and published work on large patch of zoysiagrass (caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani), dollar spot in turfgrass (caused by the fungus Sclerotinia homoeocarpa), and the weedy species silvery thread moss (Bryum argenteum). I have also participated and mentored undergraduate and graduate students involved in research on tomato grafting, tomato microbial communities, pine wilt disease, organic pac choi production, and other systems.

Staff & Students

  • Staff:
    • Dr. Jared Crain
    • Dr. Trevor Rife
    • Chandler Day
    • Dr. Rodrigo Borba Onofre
  • Current students:
    • Manoj Chhetri - PhD student (Co-advised, Dept of Horticulture and Natural Resources)
  • Recent previous students:
    • Mingying Xiang - PhD Student (co-advised, Horticulture)
    • Chandler Day - MS Student


I do not have a formal teaching appointment. I give several guest lectures each year in undergraduate courses in Plant Pathology and Horticulture. I contribute to mentoring graduate students who conduct formal internships in the diagnostic laboratory. I am the lead of our summer research and extension experiences for undergraduates program.