The Penn State Plant Disease Clinic (Specimen Brochure)

The Plant Disease Clinic, a service of the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology, provides clinical diagnoses of plant diseases from submitted samples.
The Penn State Plant Disease Clinic (Specimen Brochure) - Articles
The Penn State Plant Disease Clinic (Specimen Brochure)

The Penn State Plant Disease Clinic

Selecting and Sending Plant Disease Specimens

The Plant Disease Clinic, a service of the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology, provides clinical diagnoses of plant diseases for approximately 2,000 samples submitted annually by Pennsylvania agricultural producers, urban gardeners, and homeowners. There is no charge for this service; we just ask that you use this guide to ensure you send us everything we need to diagnose the plant disease that may be affecting your plants.

What samples to send:

  • Christmas trees
  • Field crops
  • Fruits
  • Greenhouse crops
  • Landscape shrubs and trees
  • Mushrooms
  • Nursery crops
  • Orchard crops
  • Turfgrass
  • Vegetables

Follow these steps to submit a sample:

1. Collect the perfect plant sample.

  • A good sample contains both living and dead tissue. Do not send completely dead plants.
  • Make sure to send us a large sample with multiple plants that are representative of the problem (if possible). If it fits in a sandwich bag, it’s too small!
  • When possible, send the entire plant (including roots). Even surface roots of large trees can be dug up and sent.
  • Remove the sample from heat as soon as possible and store it in a cool location.

2. Download and thoroughly complete the Specimen Information Form .

3. Package the sample.

  • Place the leaves in a dry paper towel.
  • Wrap root ball in a plastic bag to separate the soil from leaves.
  • Place entire sample in a larger plastic bag.
  • Package bagged sample as though you are mailing us glass!
  • Include the completed Specimen Information Form in the box.

4. Ship the sample.

  • Collect, package, and mail in the same day if possible. Fresh samples are best!
  • Mail early in the week and avoid weekends and holidays.

Mail samples and completed Specimen Information Form to:
Plant Disease Clinic
The Pennsylvania State University
220 Buckhout Lab
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: 814-865-7448
Fax: 814-863-7217

Download the brochure using the "Download PDF" link at the top of the page.