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Collection & Submission Tips

The Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic is designed to provide you with diagnostic services. The Clinic can provide you with the fast, accurate, professional service that you need and demand. When submitting samples for analysis, please keep a few things in mind:

Sample Collection:

  • The sample to be submitted should contain all parts of the plant when possible.
  • Wrap the sample loosely in an unsealed plastic bag and package it in a sturdy shipping cointiner. If sample is from outside of New York State, double bag infected plant material in two heavy, sealable plastic bags (i.e. Two Zip-lock Freezer Bags) before placing in a sturdy shipping container. Any viable plant material from outside of New York State should be placed in cloth or paper bags and then place into plastic bags before placing in a sturdy shipping container for shipment.
  • Pack roots separate from branches, shoots, or foliage.
  • It is important that you try to collect the sample prior to any pesticide applications - once pesticides have been applied it may be difficult to obtain an accurate diagnosis.
  • The sample should be taken from an area that has early symptoms of the problem. Areas that are completely dead often contain secondary organisms that may hinder detection of the primary pathogen.

The procedure for collecting samples for nematode analysis varies slightly:

  • The best time of year for nematode analyses is during the active growing season.
  • A minimum of 6 soil sub-samples, approximately 1" in diameter and 4" in depth, should be collected from an area that is approximately one acre in size.
  • If sampling from an individual specimen, collect the soil subsamples from within the dripline of the tree's canopy.
  • Mix the soil thoroughly and submit about 1 pint of the soil mixture.
  • If a foliar nematode is suspected, it is best to send in the whole plant

Sample Submission:

  • Please use and include the Submission Form whenever submitting samples
  • Providing as much information on the form as possible will help ensure an accurate diagnosis of the problem.
  • For fast results, include your fax number or email address and indicate your preferred contact method.

Sample Shipment:

  • Mail the sample as quickly as possible. If the sample cannot be mailed immediately, keep it refrigerated or out of direct sunlight.
  • There is no mail delivery at Cornell on weekends or holidays. To make sure your sample will get processed as soon as it arrives, collect and ship so that we receive it no later than Friday morning during a regular week. During weeks with a major holiday, please call ahead to find out the best time to ship.


  • Please include a check for the appropriate fee made out to Cornell University. We can not process samples until we have received full payment
  • Please feel free to call the clinic with any questions prior to your sample submission. The clinic staff works hard to provide you with fast, accurate results. Providing answers to your important questions prior to sample submission may enable us to get you the answers you need on a timely basis. You can contact the clinic by:

telephone (607-255-7850),fax (607-255-4471), or by email or