Diagnostics

The Fruit Pathology Laboratory will diagnose small fruit, tree fruit, tree nuts, and hop samples at no cost to commercial growers.  Physical or digital samples are accepted.  This free service is supported by the Ohio Vegetable and Small Fruit Research Development Program and the Department of Plant Pathology, The Ohio State University.

Home gardeners can send samples to the C. Wayne Ellett Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic for a nominal fee.

How to Send a Physical Sample for Diagnosis

The accuracy of the disease diagnosis is directly related to the quality of a plant sample submitted for diagnosis. The following are general guidelines for collecting and submitting a sample for disease diagnosis.

  •  Provide freshly collected specimens that represent the range of symptoms that you
    observe.

    Apple tree shoot submitted for diagnosis. This sample was packaged in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel and shipped immediately.

  •  Provide as much plant material as possible, including roots, top growth and fruit.
  •  Do not send dead plant material. Plants material that is already dead can’t be diagnosed.
  •  Provide lots of information about the sample, such as plant variety, history of the problem, recent pesticide applications and the number of plants affected.
  •  When mailing samples:
    •  For entire plant samples, bag (plastic) the roots and seal at the soil line with a twist tie or a rubber band. Do not cut the root ball off the above-ground plant parts.
    • Cover the top plant growth with a second plastic bag.
    •  For leaf or stem tissue, place the sample in a zip-seal bag as soon as it is collected.
    • Do not use paper bags.
    • Separate fruit (i.e. berries, apples, peaches) samples from roots and top growth material. Place fruit in a zip-seal bag as soon as it is collected.
    • Mail sample in a sturdy container. Entire plant samples should be enclosed in boxes or other crush-proof packaging.
    • Include a completed Plant Sample Submission Form in the package.
    • Only send samples by overnight delivery. Samples should be mailed Monday through Wednesday only.  Send samples to: Fruit Pathology Laboratory, Dr. Melanie Lewis Ivey, 1680 Madison Avenue, 229 Selby Hall, Wooster, OH 44691.

How to Send a Digital Sample for Diagnosis

Digital samples can be emailed to Dr. Melanie Lewis Ivey (ivey.14@osu.edu).  Here are some tips for submitting a digital sample:

  • Check your images before submitting them.  If they look out of focus to you, they will not be helpful to us.
  • Send up to 10 images per sample.  The more images and views we have of the sample the less likely we will need a follow-up physical sample.
  • Include a photo of the whole plant, close-ups of plant parts (leaves, flower, roots, fruit, seeds, etc.), and a broad view of the plant so that the surrounding environment can be seen.
  • Include as much additional information as possible such as: variety/cultivar, age of plant, chemicals used, number of plants affected, where found, patterns, when symptoms were first noticed, etc.