How to Collect Plant Samples for Plant Disease Identification

When investigating a potential plant disease problem, good observational and detective skills are necessary. The sample should be fresh material with several examples of visual symptoms expressed from healthy to infected tissue.

Examples of observations a collector should make include:

  1. pattern of disease in the crop;
  2. frequency of the disease symptoms; and
  3. inspect the interior of roots and stems to identify if internal symptoms exist.

Procedure For Sample Collection, Packaging and Submission

The following procedures for obtaining, packaging and submitting the sample are suggested.

  1. Obtain a fresh sample with several examples ranging from healthy to infected tissue.
  2. Include as much of the plant as is practical, especially the root system. Place root system in a separate plastic bag to avoid drying out and soil contaminating the leaves.
  3. A leaf and potato tuber sample should be large enough to give a good indication of the problem: approximately 10 to 20 leaves or 15 to 20 pounds of tubers.
  4. Place samples in appropriate bags: tubers in paper bags and leaf tissue in plastic bags with a moist paper towel and air.
  5. Keep samples cool and moist, protected from crushing, freezing and heat.
  6. Label the sample with the pertinent information required.
    1. Name of Grower
    2. Date of Collection
    3. Variety
    4. Statement of Problem
    5. Growers' Telephone Number

What information is required when submitting the sample?

Background Information

  1. Identify the crop, variety and any information on management practices that may have adversely affected the plant; for example fertilizer rates, pesticides applied.
  2. Identify environmental conditions preceding and during disease development: temperature, humidity, ventilation.
  3. Note the rate of disease development, coincident with any treatment or environmental event.

Remember: A concise, accurate plant diagnosis can only be completed when a fresh, representative sample of the disease problem is submitted to the laboratory.

When and where can samples be submitted?

Samples can be submitted at the Plant Health Lab  until November 14th:

Plant Health Lab
c/o Marleen Clark
Phone: (902) 368-5261
mmclark@gov.pe.ca
PEI Analytical Laboratories
23 Innovation Way, Charlottetown
OR
AccessPEI Locations

After November 14, 2017, please contact:

Lorraine MacKinnon
Potato Industry Coordinator
Phone: 902-314-1607
lormackinnon@gov.pe.ca
Department of Agriculture & Fisheries
5th Floor Jones Bldg, 11 Kent Street
Charlottetown PEI
C1A 7N8

Published date: 
November 7, 2017
Agriculture and Land

General Inquiries

PEI Analytical Laboratories
23 Innovation Way,
BioCommons Park,
Charlottetown, PE C1E 0B7

Phone: 902-620-3300
Fax: 902-569-7778

Hours of Operation:
Summer (June - September) 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Winter (October - May) 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

peiextension@gov.pe.ca