»How To Prepare And Submit A Good Sample

 Diseased Plants and Plant Identification

  • Timing of submission
    • Please bring plant material to the Extension Office on Mondays or Tuesdays to avoid letting it rot before getting it to the lab, resulting in no diagnosis.   Harvest plant material just before bringing and keep as cool as possible.
  • Photos – a helpful diagnostic tool
    • It is helpful to submit photos of the problem to us (if possible), in conjunction with bringing in a physical sample.  Take a landscape shot – showing the problem in the context of the landscape – and then a close-up of the problem.
  • What to submit
    • Submit whole plants when possible, especially if a root problem is suspected, e.g. when all or large parts of the plant are wilting or dying back.  Include two cups of soil within the root ball, and as many roots as possible.  Tie a plastic bag around the root ball to contain soil and roots.
    • If sending a whole plant is not possible, you will need the following:
      • In a sealed plastic baggie: a large handful of the fibrous roots (skinny roots) in at least 2 cups of soil.
      • In a separate plastic bag:  Several sections of plant material that include living and dead material on each piece.  If individual branches or stems are dying cut the stem to include the junction of healthy and affected tissue.  This is the site where the pathogen is most active.  A completely dead sample is not sufficient for accurate diagnosis.  If possible, submit stems with affected leaves still attached.  They will remain fresher that way.
      • Note: DO NOT add water to soil or other samples.  DO NOT wrap plant material in wet paper.

Insect Identification

With the exception of butterflies and moths, insects should be placed in alcohol when fresh before transport to Extension Office. Desiccated insects are hard to identify.  Insects may be submitted also in a plastic bag.