How to Submit a Sample

Instructions for Collecting, Packing, and Shipping the sample

Collecting your specimen:

Collect plant material with symptoms. Dead plants aren’t helpful, so look for areas that are dying. Try to include different severity of symptoms (for example multiple leaves showing a range of light green, yellow, and brown areas).

Send as much of the plant as possible. While the damage may be seen in the leaves, the cause of the problem may be in the roots. Place the roots and the soil in a plastic bag and secure with tape. Place the whole plant into a second bag as seen below.

Include healthy material if possible. If there are healthy plants, fruit, etc., of the same variety, send them. Place them in a separate container marked “healthy”.

Take photos. You can get a high quality photo using a digital camera or smart phone. Make sure the photo includes the area of the plant you are concerned about. It is also helpful if you take pictures of the whole plant before sampling and a picture of the landscape it is in (example: the raised bed it is in, the greenhouse bench, the yard, the field, etc.).

For insect samples follow these guidelines.

*If you are unsure what material to collect, contact the clinic and we will guide you*

Filling out the submission form

Submission forms are available below. Provide as much information as possible. Listing what the plant is and what variety, whenever known, growing conditions, soil type, damage patterns, and cultural practices, are all important factors in determining what is causing the symptoms.

Information provided helps determine what problems are likely and which are unlikely.

Plant Problem Submission Form (pdf).

Submitting your sample

Each sample should be packaged in sturdy plastic bags or another container. Paper bags are often suitable for fruits, tubers, or fleshy material as long as they are relatively dry.

Soil should only be submitted in either sturdy plastic bags or waterproof paper bags.

Local samples can be dropped off at:
Washington State University-Plant Pathology Department
Plant Pest Diagnostic Clinic
Clark Hall Room 228
Monday-Friday 8:00am to 4:30pm

If you are shipping your sample, ship the material as soon as possible.

If the sample is collected and it is impossible to ship immediately, keep the material cool and do not add any liquid, such as water, to it.

If the sample is being transported for a length of time, be sure to keep it cool and out of direct light.

Ship samples early in the week to avoid delays. This includes not shipping on Fridays or before holidays.

Delays=decay.

Pack contained samples (sturdy plastic bag, etc.,) in a sturdy container. It may be necessary to pad the container with newspaper or other material.

Ship samples to:

Clinic USPS mailing address:
Plant Pest Diagnostic Clinic
Department of Plant Pathology
P.O. Box 646430
Pullman, WA  99164-6430

UPS and FedEx address:
Plant Pest Diagnostic Clinic
Department of Plant Pathology
410 Dairy Road
Pullman, WA  99164-6430

Have Questions?

If you have questions on how to collect and submit a sample, call or email the clinic. 
509-335-3292 or plant.clinic@wsu.edu.