Plant Disease Information Office, Sample Submission Information, New Haven

Jenkins-Waggoner Laboratory, New Haven

The Plant Disease Information Office is part of the Department of Plant Pathology and Ecology of The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Dr. Wade Elmer, Plant Pathologist and Head of this department (Phone 203-974-8503, Email, oversees these service efforts.  They are focused on the diagnosis of plant health problems and this office answers inquiries about plants and plant health and performs disease diagnosis for all Connecticut residents, including homeowners and professionals (e.g., arborists, commercial growers, landscapers, orchardists).

Dr. Yonghao Li (plant pathologist) is responsible for the office. The office is located in the Jenkins-Waggoner Laboratory.  Office hours and phone access is Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

Plant samples can be submitted in person or by mail. Disease diagnosis involves visual assessment, microscopic examination, and other procedures as necessary. These include culture of the causal agent on artificial and selective media, serological tests, and various other procedures.

Questions or requests for information can be made by phone, email, or in person.

For more information:

Dr. Yonghao Li 
Plant Disease Information Office
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
123 Huntington Street, P. O. Box 1106
New Haven, CT 06504

Phone: (203) 974-8601

Toll-Free Phone Number Outside New Haven Area:  1-877-855-2237

Fax:  (203) 974-8502


Website Address:

How to Collect and Submit Samples:

1.    Collect fresh specimens.  Send a generous amount of material, if available.

2.    Ship in crush-proof container immediately after collecting.  Mail packages to arrive on weekdays.   Do not mail late in the week to ensure that packages won’t sit in the post office over the weekend.

3.    Incomplete information or poor specimens may result in an inaccurate diagnosis or inappropriate control recommendations. Damaged or dead specimens are often unidentifiable and requests for additional samples can cause delays.

4.    If possible, provide complete background information about the specimen. Follow this link for sample submission forms and information: Sample Submission Information. It is suggested that this form be completed as thoroughly as possible to assist with diagnosis.

Mailing Address:
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
Plant Disease Information Office
P. O. Box 1106
New Haven, CT 06504

Physical Address (for UPS, FedEx, etc.):
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
Plant Disease Information Office
123 Huntington Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Submitting Plant Specimens for Disease/Injury Diagnosis:

1. Herbaceous Plants:   for general decline or dying of plants, send whole plants showing early symptomsDig the plant carefully to keep the roots and adjacent soil intact.  Send several plants.   Wrap the roots in a plastic bag and secure at the stem so soil does not contaminate the aboveground portions.  Place the entire plant, with wrapped roots, in another plastic bag.  Wrap bagged plants in newspaper and place in a crush-proof container for shipment.  Do not add water.

2. Trees with Symptoms of Wilt:  collect several branches approximately ½ to 1 inch in diameter from portions of the canopy that are actively wilting or yellowing but not totally dead.  Branches can be cut into pieces for shipping.   Wrap in plastic to retain moisture and send immediately.    Do not add water.

3. Leaves, Branches or Fleshy Parts of Woody Ornamentals: send specimens representing early and moderate stages of the symptoms you are observing.  For twig or branch cankers, include healthy portions from above and below the diseased area.  Press leaves flat between heavy paper or cardboard and place in plastic bags.  Wrap fleshy parts in dry paper and place in a plastic bag.  Do not add water.  Send sample as soon as possible.

4. Turf: sample plugs should be at least 4-6 square inches and include the transition area between the diseased and healthy portion of grass. The sample should also be cut deep enough so as to include the root system. Wrap the sample in newspaper and place it in a plastic bag. The sample should be sent immediately.

suggested sample for turf

Suggested Sample for Turf

Submitting Plant Specimens for Identification:

For plant identification, include a 6-10 inch sample of the terminal (tip) portion of the stem with side buds, leaves, and flowers in identifiable condition.

1.    Place the sample flat between a layer or two of dry newspaper, paper toweling, or a similar material.

2.   Pack the wrapped bundle in plastic, preferably with a piece of cardboard to keep the sample flat. Do not add water.

For fruit identification, wrap whole, uncut fruit specimens in paper, place in a crush-proof box, and pack with additional paper to prevent damage.