• Staff

    The primary role of the Florida Extension Plant Diagnostic Clinics (FEPDC) is to determine whether symptoms in submitted plant samples involve an infectious causal agent, e.g. fungus, bacterium or virus, or other cultural or environmental factor that causes similar symptoms. The goal of the FEPDC system is to educate clientele by providing plant disease and disorder diagnoses and recommendations for preventative and therapeutic measures. The FEPDC is a fee-based service provided to any Florida resident by the Plant Pathology Department of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), University of Florida, in conjunction with the Cooperative Extension Service. The FEPDC is open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday (except for University holidays).


    Dr. Catharine Mannion
    Associate Professor, Ornamental Entomology
    Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic
    Tropical Research & Education Center (TREC)
    University of Florida, Homestead, FL

    Phone: (305) 246-7001 x220

    E-mail: cmannion@ufl.edu

    Web site: http://trec.ifas.ufl.edu/mannion/


    Dr. Aaron J. Palmateer
    Assistant Professor, Plant Pathology
    Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic
    Tropical Research & Education Center (TREC)
    University of Florida, Homestead, FL

    Phone: (305) 246-7001 x270

    E-mail: ajp@ufl.edu

    Web site:
    http://trec.ifas.ufl.edu/personnel_faculty_palmateer.shtml


    Dr. Shouan Zhang
    Assistant Professor, Plant Pathology
    Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic
    Tropical Research & Education Center (TREC)
    University of Florida, Homestead, FL

    Phone: (305) 246-7001 x213

    E-mail: szhang0007@ufl.edu

    Web site:
    http://trec.ifas.ufl.edu/personnel_faculty_shouan_zhang.shtml


  • Sample Submission

    Properly Collecting a Plant Sample

    Collect whole plants when possible. From root to stem. Samples that include whole plants are more likely to provide the information needed for Clinic staff to make a proper diagnosis.

    Be sure to dig up the plant as opposed to pulling it out of the ground. Often diseased root tissue or pathogen structures associated with roots are very delicate. Pulling plants from the soil may shear diseased tissue or pathogens away, making diagnosis more difficult.

    If possible collect more than one plant. Diagnosis of a plant disease often involves performing several tests on a sample. Also, including healthy plants with your diseased plant sample can help in detecting symptoms in diseased plants. Collect plants that show a range of symptoms. Providing a sample of plants showing a range of symptoms may speed the diagnosis process.

    Keep collected plants as fresh as possible. Diseases on fresh plants are easier to diagnose. If there must be a delay between time of sampling and submission keep the sample cool.

    It is very important to keep foliage from becoming contaminated with soil. Soil contains many microorganisms that can readily colonize dead or dying tissue and possibly interfere with our ability to recover pathogens from diseased tissue.

    When submitting a sample please fill in as much information on the form as possible. The plants NameVariety, and AgeSymptoms including unusual plant size, color or shape, and severity of the disease. The Environment (weather patterns just prior to the onset of disease symptoms, soil type, amount of water that the plant has received, and the amount of sun or shade that the plants receive); Management Practices including previous crops, fertilizers and pesticides that have been used on and in the proximity of the plant sample.


    Turf Sample

    turf

     

    Cut sections 4 to 5 inches in diameter from the edge of the affected area where healthy turf meets diseased turf. If possible before sampling take a picture of the diseased area to be included with the turf sample.
     


    Submitting a Plant Sample by Mail

    plant-sample

     

    Plant Sample: Place the pot or roots in a plastic bag and loosely tie the top of the bag around the stem of the plant. This will keep the soil from contaminating the foliage. Place the wrapped plant in a box. Use packing material to ensure that the sample won’t shift during shipment.

    seedling

     

    Seedlings: Wrap them in a moist paper towel and place the seedlings and toweling between two pieces of cardboard and put into a plastic bag. Tie the bag closed. Punch several holes in the bag to allow air movement. Place the wrapped seedlings in a box. Use packing material to ensure that the sample won’t shift during shipment.

    leaves

     

    Leaves: Press them flat between alternate layers of moist and dry paper towels. Put leaves and toweling between two pieces of cardboard and put into a plastic bag. Tie the bag closed. Punch several holes in the bag to allow air movement. Place wrapped leaves in a box. Use packing material to ensure that the sample won’t shift during shipment.

    fronds

     

    Palm Fronds: Place the fronds in a plastic bag and tie the bag closed. If the palm frond is too big section the entire frond into 4-5 inch pieces. Punch several holes in the bag to allow air movement. Place the wrapped material in a box. Use packing material to ensure that the sample won’t shift during shipment.

    woody

     

    Woody Branches: Cut each branch into sections. Place the pieces in a plastic bag and place the wrapped material in a box. Use packing material to ensure that the sample won’t shift during shipment.

     

    conk

     

    Fleshy Material (ex: fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms): Wrap the material in dry newspaper. Place the newspaper wrapped specimen in a plastic bag and tie the bag closed. Punch several holes in the bag to allow air movement. Place the wrapped material in a box. Use packing material to ensure that the sample won’t shift during shipment.

    turf

     

    Turf Samples: Wrap turf in dry newspaper. Place turf and newspaper in a plastic bag and tie the bag closed. Punch several holes in the bag to allow air movement. Place the wrapped material in a box. Use packing material to ensure that the sample won’t shift during shipment. If possible include a picture of the disease to aid in diagnosis.


  • About the Clinic

    The Florida Extension Plant Diagnostic Clinic, located at the Tropical Research & Education Center in Homestead, FL, is designed to provide plant disease diagnostic services for anyone interested in plant diseases and insect pests.

    Our services include analysis of plant material for bacterial, fungal, viral, and nematode pathogens as well as the identification of insect pests. All diagnoses include appropriate control measures when available.

    The Clinic is a facility of the Tropical Research and Education Center and a member of the Florida Plant Diagnostic Network. This alliance allows the clinic to maintain a strong connection with the leading researchers in the field of Plant Pathology. The clinic provides accurate plant diagnosis, prompt turn around time, professional services, and up-to-date management recommendations.

    The Clinic promotes a “Test, Don’t Guess” attitude. Knowing the causal agent prior to taking action allows for more efficient use and selection of control methods. Be certain to remember when it comes down to chemical control recommendations always read and follow the appropriate manufacturer’s label.