Agriculture & Natural Resources

How to submit a sample

Click here for the Delaware Plant Diagnostic Form Nov2014 (click highlighted text to download and print) that should accompany any sample, with information filled in as completely as possible.  Many homeowner samples may not need to be sent to the Clinic, but may be diagnosed by Master Gardeners or County Agents in the county Extension offices.  A fee based system for cost recovery is being developed, to be implemented in January of 2017. Currently (August, 2016) there is a $20 charge for bacterial leaf scorch (BLS) testing. For BLS testing, at least 25 leaves are required and the test may take up to two weeks to run.

The Nematode Assay Service is a different fee based service provides identification and enumeration of plant parasitic nematodes in soil and plant tissue: web page:

New! Here are some helpful hints and suggestions to help all of us to accurately and quickly diagnose plant disease and insect samples that come in.

  1. If a sample consists of just one or two leaves of an unknown plant or a dead brown branch, we probably will not be able to tell much.  Please request a new sample from the client.
  2. Samples should be placed in a ziplock plastic bag.  Samples in open plastic bags from grocery stores or paper are usually too dry by the time they get to Newark.
  3. Wet, soft fruits or vegetables should be placed in dry paper towels and then double bagged in case they break down and leak.
  4. Turfgrass samples should contain a margin between healthy and diseased, and should be a section of turf with a bit of soil underneath (4 x 4 inches is good). Plastic containers such as butter tubs or for left-overs work well as containers.
  5. Anything sprayed with a pesticide should not be sampled and sent for at least 24 hours.
  6. Insect identifications can be made from plants, household, or foundation habitats.  Anything from a human body is not appropriate to send to Newark, and should be sent to the Department of Health.
  7. Information filled in on the forms can be very helpful. Remember, this work is like doing a jigsaw puzzle.  The more pieces we have, the easier it is to complete!