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Plant problems diagnosed at U of I clinic

Published: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 10:21 a.m. CST

Another diagnostics season is under way at the University of Illinois Plant Clinic. Suzanne Bissonnette, director of the clinic, said samples have already been arriving at the clinic, now in its 39th year in operation. 

Plant Clinic services include diagnosis of disease, plant and insect identification, insect, weed and chemical injury observation (chemical injury on field crops only), nematode assays, and help with nutrient related problems, as well as management recommendations involving these diagnoses.

“On the field front, there have been concerns with virus disease diagnosis in wheat. On the home landscape front, there is a mountain of winter kill and windburn injury from the harsh winter just past,” Bissonnette said. 

Many samples can be diagnosed within a day or two, though some can take as long as two weeks, depending on the procedure. The final diagnoses and invoices are sent back through both U.S. mail and email. 

Specialists at the clinic use techniques such as microscopic examinations, laboratory culturing, virus assays, and nematode assays to diagnose problem plants. 

Each sample for diagnosis should include a sample form, symptomatic plant, protected root ball, and payment. Refer to the Plant Clinic website for additional details on sampling, sample forms, fees, and services offered. Whenever submitting a sample, provide as much information as possible on the pattern of injury in the planting, the pattern on individual affected plants, and details describing how symptoms causing concern have changed over time.

Fees vary depending on the procedure necessary. General diagnosis including culturing, is $15, ELISA and immunostrip testing is $25, nematode analysis for SCN or PWN is $20, and specialty nematode testing (such as corn) is $40.

Payment should be included with the sample for diagnosis to be initiated. Checks should be made payable to the University of Illinois or to the Plant Clinic. 

For more information on what, where, or how to sample, call the clinic at 217-333-0519.

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