Taking an environmentally sensitive approach to pest management


Peng Tian
University of Missouri
(573) 882-3019

Top 3 Considerations when Submitting Samples this Season

Peng Tian
University of Missouri
(573) 882-3019

March 14, 2022

minute read

The MU Plant Diagnostic Clinic reopened on February 1st, 2021. Since reopening, the lab has processed 276 physical samples and 61 digital samples. We look forward to expanding awareness and impact of the clinic in 2022. No matter whether you are familiar with our services, here are three main considerations to keep in mind when submitting samples this season:

1. Use online resources

The online submission system was launched in April 2021. We have seen increasing number of clients prefer the online submission form and online payment system that can be found here. The conventional form is also available for download on the sample submission page.

A screenshot of the MU Plant Diagnostic Clinic homepage

Figure 1 A screenshot of the MU Plant Diagnostic Clinic homepage

If you have questions on sample submission, such as when to ship my sample, how to pack my sample and what type of plant tissues that the clinic requires for diagnosis, there are two videos available on the homepage and sample submission page of MU Plant Diagnostic Clinic (Figure 1). The one on the homepage gives you a very brief introduction of the clinic services and sample submission guidelines while the webinar video on the sample submission page gives you detailed instructions that will address your specific requests such as insect identification, weed identification, photo submission and plant disease diagnosis. You can also reach us by phone and e-mail.

caterpillars on leafs

Figure 2. Caterpillars of Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) displayed in "Disease Snapshots"

The "Disease Snapshots" and "Disease highlights" web pages are new educational resources. Disease Snapshots" provides you with a photo gallery of disease-related pathogens, insects and symptoms, and control recommendations (Figure 2). "Disease highlights" is for those who are interested in studying and controlling the recurring health problems of plants in Missouri. A detailed disease fact sheet is offered in this page.

2. Communication

Questions such as chemical application history, dates of first symptom, irrigation schedule and percentage of affected plants are very important to determine the exact plant health problems. The clinic staffs will be eager to speak with you about the information of your samples to obtain a better understanding your plant story, but reviewing the sample submission guidelines carefully before sending samples in and offering as much information as possible is the best way to save you time. In addition, submitting photos of the plants prior to sample submission is highly recommended. Please see the video "How to take photos for your sample?" for more information If none of the above information is provided, it may take extra time to complete the diagnosis.

3. Submit samples through regional horticulture specialists

MU extension field specialists working throughout the state provide strong support for the local communities. They are well trained in detecting and solving plant health problems. They also work closely with the clinic and will assist the clients in correctly submitting samples. Find your nearest field specialist on the MU Extension Web Site.

The new online resources of the MU Plant Diagnostic Clinic website can assist you in proper sample submission and provide you with educational information of plant diseases and corresponding disease management recommendations. With a better understanding of sample submission guidelines, a good communication with clinic staffs and the support from local county offices, it will significantly improve the process of disease diagnosis and reporting. The MU Plant Diagnostic Clinic is committed in serving you by providing quality diagnostic work to solve your plant health problems in 2022. The MU Plant Diagnostic Clinic can also be found on Twitter @MUplantclinic.

Cover image of cedar hawthorn rust courtesy of Kate Kammler.

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REVISED: March 14, 2022