By Holly Thornton
University of Georgia
The Homeowner IPM Plant Disease Clinic is a diagnostic laboratory operated by UGA’s plant pathology department. It’s managed in conjunction with the Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic.
Your plants will be taken care of by Holly Thornton – that would be me. I’m your general lab diagnostician. I am also the homeowner integrated pest management specialist and handle all management recommendations regarding diseased homeowner plant samples.
In addition to homeowner plant samples, the following types of plant disease samples are processed in the Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic: commercial ornamental, fruit, and turf; forestry, Christmas trees, legume forages, wood rots, mushrooms, urban ornamental landscapes and small grains.
In order to submit a plant sample for disease diagnosis, call or visit your local Extension office. For directions to your Extension office, call 1-800-ASK-UGA1, a number that will connect you directly with your county’s office.
It's best to call first so the county Extension agent can inform you of correct sampling procedures for your specific plant problem. This will help you collect the appropriate type of plant material before driving to the Extension office.
Many times, county Extension agents can diagnose plant problems in their offices. County Extension agents attend plant pathology trainings regularly. Many of the plant diseases they identify are common problems here in Georgia. In addition, most county offices are equipped with microscopes and supplies needed to diagnose plant disease problems.
Oftentimes, a plant sample is packaged and shipped to the diagnostic lab for diagnosis. This is especially true if the plant disease is an unknown or new disease problem, if a county agent is out of town or if the agent is new to the position and unfamiliar with the plant disease problem.
Once the diagnostic laboratory receives the sample, we try to provide a diagnosis and recommendation to your Extension agent in a timely manner. Hopefully, this can be done in a week’s time. The agent then contacts you with personalized recommendations.
There is a processing fee of $10 for all homeowner samples submitted to the diagnostic clinic.
Additional information can be found at our diagnostic clinic homepage at http://plantpath.caes.uga.edu/extension/clinic.html.
(Holly Thornton is a homeowner integrated pest management specialist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Department of Plant Pathology.)