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Submitting a Sample

How to Prepare Samples for Identification/Diagnosis

Preparing Insect Specimens for Identification

  1. Carefully collect insect specimens and/or plant material associated with insect damage.
  2. Bring in a generous amount of affected plant material associated with the insect as possible.
  3. Place insect in alcohol either in small bottles with secure caps or sealed plastic bag.
  4. Place large adult moths and butterflies cushioned in a box or jar with cotton to minimize damage.

Preparing Plant Specimens for Disease Diagnosis

  1. Select a plant specimen showing distinct disease symptoms. Try to bring several plant parts that show the various stages of the problem: early stages, severely affected, and a healthy plant.
  2. Dig up the entire plant when practical (vegetables & flowers) including its root structure. Try not to pull the plant as any diseased roots will be left behind.
  3. Tree diseases can best be diagnosed by evaluating the junction of diseased and healthy tissue. Include twigs or limbs just beginning to show symptoms, but still alive. Old dead limbs are useless.
  4. Wrap roots in plastic bag separate from the rest of the plant to prevent dirt from contaminating leaves and stems.
  5. Check to see how much (%) and what part of the plant is affected: top, middle, or lower part.

Preparing Turf Samples for Disease Diagnosis

  1. Cut turf in squares approximately 4 inches across and as deep as the roots will hold soil. Leave the soil intact. Store samples in fridge until ready to bring into the Plant Clinic.
  2. Bring three or four specimens each representing a different stage (healthy, slightly affected, and heavily damaged).
  3. Check to see how much of the lawn is affected (%).

Preparing Plant and Weed Identification Requests

Plants/weeds are identified in many ways. The most useful plant parts are flowers, fruits, leaves, buds, and stems. Because some ornamental plants have many varieties, it may not be possible to determine the exact variety.

  1. Collect as many plant parts as possible. Flowers, fruits/seeds, leaves, stems, buds and roots may aid in identification.
  2. Place the plant specimen in a plastic bag along with a moist paper towel (don’t add water) and seal.


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