Collect and Submit a Plant Sample

Herbaceous plants

Send an entire plant if possible. Include leaves stems and roots of the infected plants. Do not pull the plant out of the ground! It is best if you dig out the plant. Leave the soil on the roots of the plant intact. Include more than one specimen that is exhibiting symptoms if possible. Send specimens that are partially infected and showing initial stages of the disease. Do not send dead plants, we will be unable to diagnose any problems. If possible, send a healthy plant for comparison.


For wilting or dieback, include branches and a root sample (smaller roots from the location of the problem). Branches should be 12″ in length and 0.5″ to 1″ in diameter. Collect the sample from limbs showing yellowing leaves. Do not send dead wood. Photos are helpful in evaluating the possible cause.

Fruits and Vegetables

Various stages of disease development is ideal. Please send samples that are firm and not deteriorated. Usually, leaves or fruiting structures are the best materials for testing. However, if the plant is small enough, the entire plant can be sent by digging up the roots. 

Packing Specimens for Shipment

  • Herbaceous Plants – Place the root system with soil in a loosely sealed plastic bag. Wrap the upper portion of the plant in newspaper and place in a padded box
  • Trees – Place both tree branches and roots in plastic bags and place in a padded cardboard box.
  • Fruits and vegetables  – Wrap each sample individually in paper towels or newspaper and seal in a plastic bag. Place in a padded box.

Be sure to enclose payment for each sample (i.e., two separate samples that require basic services = $20.00, etc.).  During hot summer months, overnight or 2-day shipping will ensure fast delivery of a quality sample. Samples stuck on delivery trucks in extreme heat may not be good for diagnosis.

What is considered one sample?

One sample is considered tissues from a single plant experiencing symptoms. These tissues can include a combination of leaves, stems, roots, fruits, and branches as needed. If you have different plants from different areas of the garden that you would like to submit, these should be packaged separately (in separate bags for shipment) and will require payments for each sample. All samples can be mailed at once if packaged correctly.