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Submitting Woody Plants
Trees and shrubs problems?
Observe symptoms and patterns, document what you see with pictures while inspecting the plant. Visit our Digital Photography page for some guidelines.
Follow our guidelines for examining unhealthy trees at the resource Identifying Tree Problems (free pdf)
Before submitting a sample, consider submitting digital pictures and contacting us (email/ call), so we can guide you on the type of sample we recommend submitting.
Download and fill out our form as completely as possible.
- Collect several (3-5) twigs with leaves attached, pack in clean, absorbent material (such as paper towels) to absorb all leaks, in a plastic bag. Do not add moisture.
- When submitting cankers, include portions of the branches at the border between discolored and healthy bark (see photo).
Root rot problems (shrubs)
For some diseases, even though the symptoms are observed in the leaves, the pathogen is located in the root and crown.
Contact us with photos at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can tell you if we recommend sending a sample of the plant root ball and crown.
For root rots and crown root confirmation, digging the root ball (see photo below) and send it along with some stems. The root ball and crown is the best tissue for us to recover (isolate) the pathogen.
Packing and shipping
- Do not add paper towels or water along with the sample. Excess moisture can cause rapid deterioration of the sample and the proliferation of secondary organisms.
- Pack your wrapped sample tightly in a box. Ship the package early in the week via overnight delivery. Walk-ins are welcome!
Suspect a wilt problem?
Collect samples from branches that are showing symptoms but are not dead. Include branches and twig with leaves attached.
Dutch elm disease, oak wilt*, and Verticillium wilt testing
Branch specimens should consist of 4 to 6 pieces, measuring 6 to 8 inches long, and 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter (verticillium wilt) and at least 1-inch thick (oak wilt and Dutch elm disease). Check for vascular discoloration when collecting samples and include branches with sapwood discoloration.
Send the samples overnight and include ice in the packets around the sample (see photo, important for oak wilt testing). Refrigeration is crucial, lack of refrigeration increases the chance of false negatives.
Additional tests available
Please note, to request the services below, use the box on our form titled “I give my approval for additional testing fees. (Plant problem diagnosis ONLY)”. We also recommend contacting us prior to submitting a sample for serological testing to ensure that we have the supplies on hand
Perform DNA testing
Oak wilt (Only offered between June- October 1st). Cost: additional $30+ Standard fee, total cost $50 *Time to result: 10 business days. *follow instruction for oak wilt sampling. Especially recommended for oaks in the white oak trees (lobed leaves), and all oaks after mid-September. This service needs to be performed at sample arrival.