Horticulture Diagnostic Forms

Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Westchester County Horticulture and the Environment Program

Diagnostic Services

At the CCE Westchester Horticulture and the Environment Program, we offer diagnostic services for plant insect and disease problems, plant-culture problems, structural insect pest identification and soil pH testing. See sections A or B below for details.

For soil nutrient and other types of soil testing, scroll down to section B, #5

Our address is Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester County, 3 West Main Street, Suite 112, Elmsford NY, 10523. Our phone number is 914-285-4640 and our email address is westchester@cornell.edu It’s usually best to choose a cooperative extension location closest to your home for Extension services. We do not identify animal/wildlife specimens or mushrooms.

There is a $10.00 fee payable by cash or check to “CCE Westchester” for each sample submitted.

Section A

How to Submit a Plant or Insect Sample

to the CCE Westchester Horticulture Program Diagnostic Lab

1. Download the sample submission form that relates to your problem. Review instructions for each sample submission. Please answer all the questions on the form, back and front.

For plant problems/plant I.D. use the

PLANT PROBLEM DIAGNOSTIC FORM

For insect problems use the

INSECT/ARTHROPOD PROBLEM DIAGNOSTIC FORM

2. Sample and packageyour specimens using the following instructions:

For turf samples: Cut an 8 x 8 x 6 inch deep sample from the lawn from a transitional area that shows a progression of healthy to unhealthy turf.Place this sample in a shoe box or similar lidded container, and slip into a plastic bag (this prevents insects from escaping) until you can deliver the sample in a day or two. If submitting by mail, wrap the sample in several layers of newspaper, enclose it in a sealed plastic bag and send overnight in in a sturdy cardboard box with submission the form enclosed separately in a zip-type plastic bag.

For tree and shrub samples: Select a twig or branch of one to two feet in length from a transitional area that shows a progression of healthy to unhealthy bark/foliage/other tissue. Place in a plastic bag and refrigerate until you can deliver the sample. If submitting by mail, wrap the sample in several layers of newspaper, loosely enclose it in an unsealed plastic bag and send in in a sturdy cardboard box with the submission form enclosed separately in a zip-type plastic bag.

For vegetable, annual, and perennial samples: Select a portion of plant material at least 12 inches from a transitional area that shows a progression of healthy to unhealthy diseased or affected foliage/stems/flowers. Root material can be important to herbaceous plant diagnostics so you may need to dig up an entire plant if it’s reasonably sized or if the plant is a very small species. Place sample in a plastic bag and refrigerate until you can deliver the sample within a day or two. If submitting by mail, wrap the sample in several layers of newspaper, loosely enclose it in an unsealed plastic bag and send in a sturdy cardboard box with the submission form enclosed in a zip-type plastic bag.

For weed identification samples: Select a stem portion of the weed showing leaves flowers or fruit if possible. If the plant is a very small species, you may need to dig up an entire plant for submittal. Place sample in a plastic bag and refrigerate until you can deliver it. If submitting by mail, wrap the sample in several layers of newspaper, loosely enclose it in an unsealed plastic bag and pack in in a sturdy cardboard box with the submission form enclosed separately in a zip-type plastic bag.

For insect identification samples: Insect specimens may be brought to our lab after they have been killed by freezing for 24 hours and placed in a plastic container such as pill bottle containing 70% isopropyl alcohol. To best preserve larval specimens (grubs, caterpillars, etc.), place them in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds and then into 70% isopropyl alcohol. DO NOT submit insects that are crushed, placed in tissue or plastic bags or sealed in tape or taped to any surface. Try to submit more than one of the insect you want identified. If you wish to mail killed insect specimens to our diagnostic lab, please call our office for preparation and packaging instructions prior to mailing.

3. Get your samples to our office in any of the following ways:

Drop off your samplesat the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester County Horticulture Diagnostic Lab, 3 West Main Street, Suite 112, Elmsford, NY 10523, Mondays to Thursdays from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.Please include $10.00 cash or a check payable in that amount for each different sample to “CCE, Westchester” for each different sample. Response turnaround is usually 2 weeks. We do not encourage sample submissions on Fridays.

Mail your samples to theCornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester County Horticulture Diagnostic Lab, 3 West Main Street, Suite 112, Elmsford, NY 10523. Please include a $10.00 check for each different sample payable in that amount to “CCE, Westchester” for each different sample. Dropping off samples is preferred but if you must mail diagnostic specimens see sampling and packaging details below. Response turnaround is usually 2 weeks.

Come to the Walk-in Diagnostic Clinic with your samples. The clinicis held every Tuesday and Thursday from 1:15 pm to 3:15 pm. where it may be possible to diagnose samples while you wait. It is best to call our office on the morning of the Tuesday or Thursday when you plan to visit our clinic so that we know to expect you. Horticulture staff may not be available for every clinic due to out-of-office programming responsibilities.

4. Pay 10.00 per sampleby cash or check to “CCE Westchester”. Samples submitted without payment will not be processed. DO NOT ASK US TO BILL YOU FOR SERVICES RENDERED.

Section B

How to Submit a Garden Soil Sample for pH Testing

to the CCE Westchester Horticulture Program Diagnostic Lab

(For soil nutrient or other soil testing, scroll down to #4)

1. Download the sample submission form that relates to your problem. Review instructions for each sample submission. Please answer all the questions on the form, back and front.

For soil pH testing use the

SOIL pH TEST FORM

2. Sample and package your specimens using the following instructions:

For soil pH samples: Select 6 different places in the area of concern and with a clean spoon or trowel, dig down to a depth of 4 to 6* inches. A 4 inch sampling depth is suggested for lawns. A 6” sampling depth is suggested for annual, perennial and vegetable gardens and trees and shrubs. From the bottom of each sampling depth hole(in each of those six different places) take 2 tablespoonsful of soil. Place all (12) tablespoonsful together in one shatterproof container or zip-type plastic bag and mix or shake well to form a homogenous sample. Do not touch the soil with your hands or fingers. Do not take your soil sample from the top 2 inches of soil.

3. Get your samples to our office in either of the following ways:

Drop off samples at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester County Horticulture Diagnostic Lab, 3 West Main Street, Suite 112, Elmsford, NY 10523,Mondays to Thursdays from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.Please include $10.00 cash ora check payable in that amount for each different pH sampleto “CCE, Westchester” for each different sample. Response turnaround is usually 2 weeks. We do not encourage sample submissions on Fridays.

Mail samples to the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester County Horticulture Diagnostic Lab, 3 West Main Street, Suite 112, Elmsford, NY 10523. Please include a $10.00 check for each different sample payable in that amount to “CCE, Westchester” for each different sample. Dropping off samples is preferred but if you must mail diagnostic specimens, see sampling and packaging details below. Response turnaround is usually 2 weeks.

4. Pay 10.00 per sampleby cash or check payable to “CCE Westchester”. Samples submitted without payment will not be processed. DO NOT ASK US TO BILL YOU FOR SERVICES RENDERED.

5. Do you want soil nutrient or other soil testing?

The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester County Horticulture and the Environment Program facilitates soil nutrient and other soil testing services through off-site university lab testing. Feel free to contact our office for your additional soil testing needs at 914-285-4640 Monday through Thursday from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm or on Friday from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and 1:00 to 2:30 pm for details. You may also email us at westchester@cornell.edu

Contact

Gerald Giordano
Senior Horticulture Consultant
westchester@cornell.edu
914-285-4640

Last updated April 23, 2015