Turfgrass Sampling

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
      515-294-5247

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.

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Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Horticulture and Home Pest News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on May 18, 2001. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.