UD Plant Diagnostic Clinic

A collage of various plants both with and without disease.

The Plant Diagnostic Clinic at the University of Delaware accepts plant samples showing signs or symptoms of disease or pest damage.

The clinic is housed in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Delaware in Newark, operating as a function of Delaware Cooperative Extension. Plant pathology is the study of plant disease and the control of plant diseases.

The UD Plant Diagnostic Clinic is a part of the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN). The mission of the network is to enhance national agricultural security by quickly detecting introduced pests and pathogens. This system links diagnostic laboratories with common strategies and tools, and increases communication among plant pathologists and the public.

Submission guidelines for the UD Plant Diagnostic Clinic

updated June 2021

Extension offices are now open in Newark, Dover, and Georgetown! We are happy to receive samples. We are asking you to either submit samples by digital image, mail, or use our physical drop-box on the Newark campus. Details for each option are below.

Contact information for the UD Plant Diagnostic Clinic

Email: jillp@udel.edu

Phone: (302) 502-1373

 

Digital Images

  • Digital images of plant problems for disease diagnosis should be submitted through the local county Extension agent or other designated Extension office personnel.
  • Three to four well-focused, quality images that show the pattern of the problem in the location, the overall symptoms on the whole plant, and a close-up image of the symptoms are recommended.
  • If a root problem is suspected, dig up and rinse off some roots to photograph.
  • The client must fill out the diagnostic form as completely as possible. This is a fillable PDF that can be saved and emailed.
  • In some cases a digital image is enough for a diagnosis, but we may request a physical sample to ensure an accurate diagnosis.

 

Drop-off

  • Samples with forms attached may be dropped off at the county extension offices on weekdays (click links above for locations), and also directly at the Diagnostic Clinic in Newark (information below).

  • There is a blue cooler chained behind a pillar in front of Townsend Hall, location shown with an “x” in the image below. The box is checked daily on weekdays until 4:30 pm. Samples may be dropped off after hours in the cooler.

  • The client must fill out the diagnostic form as completely as possible. This is a fillable PDF that can be saved and emailed to jillp@udel.edu, or printed. There are forms in the drop box as well.

531 S College Ave
Newark, DE 19716

Drop off specimen map

Submission guidelines for the UD Plant Diagnostic Clinic

 

Digital Images
 

  • Email digital images along with the Plant Diagnostic Sample Submission Form to jillp@udel.edu. This is a fillable PDF that can be saved and emailed.

  • Three to four well-focused, quality images that show the pattern of the problem in the location, the overall symptoms on the whole plant, and a close-up image of the symptoms are recommended.

  • If a root problem is suspected, dig up and rinse off some roots to photograph.

  • The client must fill out the Plant Diagnostic Sample Submission Form as completely as possible. This is a fillable PDF that can be saved and emailed.

  • In some cases a digital image is enough for a diagnosis, but we may request a physical sample to ensure an accurate diagnosis.

Mail

  • Samples may be sent by mail to the address below, which is checked daily during weekdays.

  • We suggest overnighting, or mailing earlier in the week so samples do not sit in transit over the weekend.

  • The client must fill out the Plant Diagnostic Sample Submission Form as completely as possible. This is a fillable PDF that can be saved and emailed to jillp@udel.edu, or printed.

  • Mail samples to:

    Plant Diagnostic Clinic
    531 S College Ave
    151 Townsend Hall
    Newark, DE 19716

 

Drop-off
 

  • There is a blue cooler chained behind a pillar in front of Townsend Hall, location shown with an “x” in the image below. The box is checked daily on weekdays until 4:30 pm.

  • The client must fill out the diagnostic form (http://www.udel.edu/007333) as completely as possible. This is a fillable PDF that can be saved and emailed to jillp@udel.edu, or printed. There are forms in the drop box as well.

    531 S College Ave
    151 Townsend Hall
    Newark, DE 19716

 

 

  • On-site visits: to commercial production operations are an option.
  • Virtual consultation: is available if you want to set up a video diagnostic call.

 

Download or print "How to submit a sample"

 

Download / print the plant sample form >

 

Here are some helpful hints and suggestions to help all of us to accurately and quickly diagnose plant disease and insect samples:
 

  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 (4x4 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!

If you have insect diagnostic samples, please contact the Cooperative Extension Agent covering agriculture or horticulture for your Delaware county. 
 

CONTACT A County Agent

 

Soil test submission procedures have changed. For the latest soil testing information (including how to purchase kits and submit soil samples), please visit the Soil Testing Laboratory’s web page.
 

DELAWARE Soil Testing PROGRAM

 

 

SUBMISSIONS

Extension offices are now open in Newark, Dover, and Georgetown! We are happy to receive samples. We are asking you to either submit samples by digital image, mail, or use our physical drop-box on the Newark campus. Details for each option are below.

Contact Us

Ph. 302-831-1390
Fax 302-831-0605

Email: jillp@udel.edu

Address
Plant Diagnostic Clinic
531 S College Ave
151 Townsend Hall
Newark, DE 19716

Additional Resources

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