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Submitting Turfgrass Samples for Disease Diagnosis
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With the recent warm weather, lawns have turned vibrant green overnight. When brown patches appear in lawns during the season, lawn enthusiasts become discouraged. Many factors can cause poor health and browning of lawns - insects, diseases, animals, improper applications of lawn-care products, or environmental stresses such as heat and drought.
The correct diagnosis of the problem(s) involves thoughtful consideration of the history of area and recent activities. If an insect or disease problem is suspected, an accurate diagnosis may require microscopic examination of the leaves or roots. The usefulness of the diagnosis and management recommendations provided depends on the quality of the sample and the background information provided.
Clumps of completely dead grass are not adequate for problem diagnosis. There are several important tips to following when submitting turfgrass samples to the Plant Disease Clinic or Insect Diagnostic Clinic for problem diagnosis.
Collected samples can be quickly overrun with other organisms. If it is not possible to deliver a sample in person, it should be mailed immediately. Avoid mailing samples late in the week to reduce the chance they'll be caught in transit over the weekend. To keep the soil away from the leaves, wrap the sample in several layers of newspaper and secure in a sturdy box. Do not add any moisture to the sample. Place any insects that are collected in a vial with preservative (alcohol or hand sanitizer) and place the vial in the box with the sample.
Send samples with a suspected disease problem or unknown problem to:
Plant Disease Clinic Iowa State University 323 Bessey Hall Ames, IA 50011
A Plant Disease Identification Form can be found at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PD31.pdf.
Send sample with a suspected insect-related problem to:
Insect Diagnostic Lab Iowa State University 109 Insectary Building Ames, IA 50011
Year of Publication:
IC-495 (8) -- April 19, 2006