Submit a Sample

It's challenging to write directions for every possible scenario. If you feel uncertain about how to collect a good sample or what the cost might be for your case, please contact the lab at (612) 625-1275 or email with questions.

  • General recomendations: Collect symptomatic plants that are still alive. Collecting plants in various stages of decline is a good strategy for collecting a sample.  If shipping, it's usually better to mail plant material in a box rather than an envelope.


    herbaceous sample

  • For herbaceous plants, if possible, send entire plant(s). Include as much of the root system as possible. To preserve root integrity, dig (rather than pull) symptomatic plants from the ground. Wrap roots in plastic (left photo). Wrap the plant(s) in dry newspaper and place in plastic (right photo). 


  • spruce samplesFor spruce and fir, look for bud-scars (see arrows in photos) to help ensure that at least 3 year's growth (see yellow brackets in the left photo) is included in the sample. Some diseases are not present on the newest growth, so it's important to include older growth. Wrap in dry newspaper and then in plastic for shipping.


  • For tree wilt tests (such as Oak Wilt and Dutch Elm Disease), collect your sample from actively wilting branches. Branches with about a 1/2-inch to 1-inch diameter are a nice size for testing, but it is more important that the branches are from actively wilting areas on the tree. Wrap sample in plastic to retain moisture. Keep cool until submitted.

     virus sample

  • For virus testing, collect symptomatic leaves, stems, or entire plants. Wrap in aluminum foil or plastic. It is very important that these samples do not dry out during shipment. Do not add extra water to the bags.


  • Nematode analysis requires that nematodes remain alive. Therefore, it is important that soil for nematode testing is not exposed to high temperature and/or desiccation. Ship soil in study plastic bags to retain moisture. Specific guidelines for sample collection are available on request.

  • Pre-payment by check is preferred for non-commercial clients. Make checks payable to the University of Minnesota and include with your sample. (Please check our current prices.) If payment is not included with the sample, an invoice will be sent by the University of Minnesota Central Accounting Department. Commercial clients may prepay; however, most chose to be set-up in the University of Minnesota Central Accounting system.

  • Mail or hand deliver samples shortly after collection. Mail samples early in the week to avoid weekend layover.

Mailing Address:
Plant Disease Clinic
Department of Plant Pathology
495 Borlaug Hall
1991 Upper Buford Circle
St. Paul, MN 55108

Hand Delivery address:
(Lab hours: Tuesday – Friday 8:30am-4:30pm)

1519 Gortner Ave
105 Stakman Hall
St. Paul, MN 55108

Campus Map and information for Stakman Hall
St. Paul Campus Map (pdf)
Interactive Campus Map

Out of State Clients
Samples that are collected from outside Minnesota must be double bag and sealed (ex. two zip-lock freezer bags). Place the sealed bags in a sturdy shipping container. Our lab has USDA APHIS permits in place to accept samples from the continental U.S.