Plant Disease Diagnosis

Sampling Instructions

Submission sheets: Please print and mail the Submission Sheet when sending samples to the lab.

Shipping: All plant material should be placed in plastic bag with a dry paper towel. Except fruit which should be wrapped in newspaper or other paper.

Send samples immediately after collecting. Keep samples cold if not able to mail immediately. Mail packages to arrive on weekdays (Monday through Friday) rather than weekends or holidays.

Payment: Sample payment may be made online, by check in the mail with the sample, by phone with a card, or in person. Please refer to the submission sheet for updated pricing scales. Samples cannot be processed without payment and necessary information.

Dead plants are useless for examination. Dry, dead, or decomposing plants cannot be processed.

Suspected Herbicide Damage

The plant pest lab can test your plants for pathogens. We cannot confirm herbicide damage. Please visit the Tennessee Department of Agriculture if you suspect you are dealing with herbicide injury.

Plant-specific sampling recommendations

Woody Ornamentals (trees, shrubs)

  • Send generous amounts of material. If plant is too large to send entire plant, dig up a handful of fine feeder roots to rule out root rotting pathogens.
  • Enclose all materials in plastic bags.
  • Keep roots separate from the rest of the plant.
  • For localized infection, such as cankers, leaf spots, rots, send samples representing early and moderate stages of disease. For cankers, include healthy portions from above and below diseased areas.

Herbaceous Plants (flowers, grasses, herbs, vegetables, groundcovers)

  • Entire plants are needed to evaluate root rotting pathogens.
  • Enclose all materials in plastic bags.
  • Wrap roots in aluminum foil before placing whole plants in a plastic bag.

Fruits, Berries (such as apple, blueberry, tomato)

  • Entire plants are needed to evaluate root rotting pathogens.
  • Keep fruits wrapped in newspaper or other paper. This will reduce fruit rot in the mail.
  • Wrap roots in aluminum foil before placing plants in a plastic bag.
  • Keep roots separate from the rest of the plant.