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How to Collect Samples

To assure that your samples arrive to us in the best possible condition, please follow these instructions when collecting plant tissue. 

You will need a Zip-Loc or similar plastic bag for each sample. If you are collecting several samples, mark each bag with an identifying name or number. We will use your sample identification when we report test results to you.

Always collect fresh materialIf you see symptoms such as spots, rots, blights, mildews, wilting, mosaic etc on leaves or stems, choose parts with symptoms for your sample. Include as many identifiable stages of the disease as are represented. Most recently developed symptoms usually afford the best material for diagnosis. If there are no symptoms present, choose the newest fully unfolded leaves on the plant.

Collect up to ten good-sized leaves or cuttings from each plant to be tested or carefully dig out (don’t pull) roots and shake excess soil from the roots. If you are sending a tissue culture, it should be at least two inches high.

Place root sample in a separate Zip-Loc or plastic bag to avoid drying out and soil contaminating the leaves. Do not add water or wet paper to the bag.

Collect whole plants when possible especially for plant wilting. Place the roots in a plastic bag and tie the top of the bag around the stem of the plant to keep the soil from contaminating the foliage.

Turfgrass samples should be taken from the edge of the affected area and include both dying and healthy plants. Collect several 3”X3” squares of sod with at least 1” of soil. Cover roots with aluminum foil to prevent soil from contaminating blades.

Collect samples as close as possible to the time you will be sending them. If you need to take samples before the day you send them, store the samples in the refrigerator. Keep samples cool and moist, protected from crushing, or freezing.

Download the Plant Disease Diagnostics Submission Form here:

Pack the bagged samples inside a cardboard box. Do not pack samples with ice. Ice packs can crush samples in shipment.

Send samples using an overnight shipping company. Keep a copy of the tracking number for your package. In case the sample does not arrive on time, you will need the tracking number to check on it. You can keep shipping costs down by sending only the sample required.


Sampling and Shipping Precautions

  • If you must store samples, keep them refrigerated

  • Do not allow samples to get wet or freeze

  • Do not send ice, insects or other material with your samples

  • Use an overnight shipping company

  • No wet or dry toweling needed

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