Turfgrass Sampling

News Article

Turf samples are making their way into the Iowa State University Plant Disease Clinic. To make good use of Clinic services send the best sample possible with complete information. Below are some tips to help you provide the Clinic with enough clues to solve your turfgrass mystery.

  • Collect turfgrass from the edge of the affected area before applying any chemicals. The sample should include both healthy and infected plants. Completely dead grass is of no use since it will be filled with secondary organisms.
  • Take a sample of at least 6" in diameter. Include the root system.
  • Wrap the sample in newspaper or paper towels. Please don't place it in a plastic bag and don't add water. Excess moisture can promote rapid deterioration and proliferation of secondary organisms.
  • Provide background information, such as when symptoms first appeared, turfgrass variety, pattern and distribution of the problem. Pictures of symptoms can be very helpful.
  • Fill out a Plant Disease Identification Form (PD-31) and include it with the sample. If you need forms, you can contact:
    • Your county or area extension office
    • The Plant Disease Clinic web page :
      ISU Extension Distribution Center
      119 Printing and Publications
      Iowa State University
      Ames, IA 50011

Pack your wrapped sample tightly in a box to prevent dislodging the soil. Ship the package early in the week via overnight delivery to:

Plant Disease Clinic
232 Bessey Hall
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011

This article originally appeared in the May 18, 2001 issue, p. 59.