Sample Submission Guidelines

The Rapid Turfgrass Diagnostic Service (RTDS) is provided to any Florida resident by the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), University of Florida in conjunction with the Cooperative Extension Service. The Florida Extension Plant Diagnostic Center (FEPDC) is open from 8-12:00 am and 1-5:00 pm Monday-Friday (except for state holidays) and is located on the University of Florida campus at Gainesville.

  • 1. Submit generous amounts of plant material from the edge of the diseased area representing a range of symptoms (part dead part healthy). Two cup cutter plugs are usually sufficient. Aeration cores are not.
  • 2. Don’t add water. Samples should be sealed in plastic bags and may be wrapped in aluminum foil, newspaper, paper towel, etc before being sealed in a plastic bag.
  • 3. Deliver or ship samples via express courier immediately after collecting. Do not send samples if collected more than 12 hrs prior to shipping. Get new samples.
  • 4. All samples must be accompanied by the first page of this completed Diagnostic Form (pdf) . These are available on the internet or can be emailed upon request. Give complete information on the form and keep the form separate from the sample. Limit sample information to one (1) sample per form. You are encouraged to include any other pertinent information in addition to that requested on the form.
  • 5. Samples cannot be received on Saturday or Sunday; ship accordingly.
  • 6. Dr. Phil Harmon is the UF faculty contact overseeing this service. You may contact Dr. Harmon to advise when samples have been sent or for questions regarding this form and service.

Ship To and Make Check Payable To

  • UF Plant Diagnostic Center
    Rapid Turfgrass Diagnostic Service
    Building 1291, 2570 Hull Road
    Gainesville, Florida 32611-0830
    Phone (352) 392-1795 Fax (352) 392-3438

The primary role of the RTDS is to determine if the plant dysfunction involves an infectious causal agent, e.g. fungus, bacterium or virus. This is done by associating causal agents with symptomatic plant tissue.

The RTDS does not routinely test water or soil for plant disease causal agents.

FEPDC policy

  • 1. All plant samples should originate within the geographical boundaries of the contiguous 48 states or be accompanied by appropriate USDA/FDACS plant importation permits.
  • 2. Plant samples must be adequate in quality and quantity and be accompanied by this completed form or equivalent information. Obtaining the appropriate sample before submission will save both time and shipping expense. NOTE: FEPDC staff reserve the right to immediately discard any sample not meeting the submission criteria listed below.
  • 3. Samples can be submitted to the FEPDC in either of the following manners: Mail or deliver samples directly from grower (e.g. superintendent, farmer, etc.) to the FEPDC. Samples must be accompanied by payment to insure timely release of disease determinations and recommendations. Clientele can arrange for monthly invoicing by contacting FEPDC staff if Clinic usage is five (5) or more times per month. Sample charges may vary.
  • 4. Samples are processed on a first come first served basis in most cases.
  • 5. Plant disease determinations and associated control options are direct mailed, emailed or sent by FAX. Results of these samples are electronically mailed to the county faculty in the county of sample origin to keep them informed of plant disease problems in their county of responsibility. Exceptions to these procedures are made for research and service samples for university personnel who can receive either an electronic mail response or hard copy mail directly from the FEPDC. No recommendations will be sent without complete identification and crop situation.

Services NOT Provided

Presently, the FEPDC does not routinely provide the following services to clientele:

  • 1. Pesticide residue determinations in or on plants and soil.
  • 2. Soil nutrient levels or plant tissue analysis for macro or minor elements.
  • 3. Speciation of all pathogens isolated from plant disease samples.
  • 4. Microbe identification from non-plant samples.
  • 5. Toxic plant identifications and mycotoxin analysis.
  • 6. Pathogen determinations from water sources.
  • 7. Pathogen determinations from soil or growing media by baiting or culturing methods.