Sample Submission

The Florida Extension Plant Diagnostic Clinic, located at the Tropical Research & Education Center in Homestead, FL, is designed to provide plant disease diagnostic services for anyone interested in plant diseases and insect pests.

Our services include analysis of plant material for bacterial, fungal, viral, and nematode pathogens as well as the identification of insect pests. All diagnoses include appropriate control measures when available.

For proper diagnosis, specimens must be received in good condition and should contain enough material. Hand-deliver samples if possible, or send them by the fastest means available. Include accompanying information (such as photos, etc.) regarding the symptoms that are of particular concern to you. Federal Express, UPS, and Priority Mail through the U.S. Postal Service deliver directly to the building.

GUIDELINES FOR SENDING SPECIMENS

Fill out the Plant diagnostic submission form (English) Formulario de envio de muestras (Español) or the Insect Identification form as completely as possible. This form must accompany each specimen sent to the lab. The information supplied will allow a more thorough and accurate diagnosis. Include your phone number and e-mail, so we may contact you for further information or inform you of the diagnosis. Each diagnosis includes a written report with pest management strategies that are research based and environmentally appropriate for the situation. Process time ranges from 7-10 business days, depending on the sample.

Please do not send plants that are completely deadPlease do not send soil alone: we do not test soil for fungal or bacterial pathogens.

  1. Disease Samples: Take samples before applying pesticides, otherwise the ability to recover pathogens may be limited. Send several plants/leaves/branches etc. showing a range of symptoms that are representative of the problem. Select samples from the area at the margin between the diseased portion of the plant and the healthy tissue. Dead plant material is of no diagnostic value because it contains secondary organisms that make detection of the primary pathogen difficult.
    • Place leaves, branches, and other plant parts in a plastic bag and seal it. Do not add moist towels or moisten the sample before sealing it.
    • When sending entire plants, dig, rather than pull, roots from the soil. Wrap roots and attached soil in a plastic bag and secure to the trunk with a twist tie. Place a second bag over the foliage and punch a few holes through this bag for ventilation. Do not add additional water or moist towels.
    • Vascular wilt specimens: Plants or plant parts that suddenly wilt may be infected with a vascular disease. Branch or stem sections should be taken from the wilting plant or recently wilted plant part. Avoid sending plant material that has been dead for any length of time.
    • Check this link for more details: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/sr007
  2. Insect Samples: Immature and soft-bodied insects should be placed in 70% ethyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol is not ideal, but may work). Other insects must be carefully packaged. Do not place loose insects into envelopes for mailing, as handling mail can destroy the specimens. You can also submit the host plant (containing the pest) inside a sealed bag.

Diagnostic Fees (payment payable to University of Florida):

  • General disease analysis - $40*
  • Molecular identification of the disease causal agent (identification of the pathogen to species level) - $75
  • Insect ID - $8

*Fee applies for routine processing, standard morphological and microscopic diagnosis. Molecular and serological-based diagnostic methods may be available for additional fee.

Additional Information: 

Fusarium Wilt of Palms Diagnosis

Laurel Wilt Disease Diagnosis

Lethal Yellowing and Texas Phoenix Palm Decline

Submission Forms :

Plant diagnostic submission form (English)

Formulario de envio de muestras (Español)

Insect Identification form