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Extension Diagnostic Services. What can the Gainesville campus diagnostic labs do for a master gardener volunteer client? Anthony Camerino Citrus County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator. How do you send a sample to Gainesville and then comprehend the results?.

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extension diagnostic services

Extension Diagnostic Services

What can the Gainesville campus diagnostic labs do for a master gardener volunteer client?

Anthony Camerino

Citrus County Extension

Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator

how do you send a sample to gainesville and then comprehend the results
How do you send a sample to Gainesville and then comprehend the results?

Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic/Phone Room

1. “Diagnostic labs in Gainesville?? What labs!?!?”

2. “Maybe if I put enough stuff in this box, put a stamp on it, and send to Gainesville someone will tell me what’s wrong with my plant??”

3. “ I can’t diagnosis your problem here, but I can get your sample to the right lab for an accurate and timely diagnosis.”


Plant Identification

Extension Soil Testing Lab

Plant Disease Clinic & Nematode Assay Lab

Insect Identification Lab

purpose of extension diagnostic services
Purpose of Extension Diagnostic Services
  • Provide education to the public concerning respective disciplines
  • Not-for-profit
  • Only samples collected in Florida
  • The quality and accuracy of results are directly related to how the samples are collected, handled, and shipped
extension soil testing lab estl
Extension Soil Testing Lab (ESTL)
  • Not just pH and homeowner nutrient analysis services
  • Many services provided:
    • Homeowner:
      • Landscape and home vegetable gardens
      • Irrigation water testing
    • Commercial growers:
      • Plant tissue testing of specific crops
      • Container media testing
      • Producer soil testing
      • Pine seedling nursery
    • Interpretation of data
      • Nutrient recommendations and guidelines as appropriate
soil nutrient analysis
Soil Nutrient Analysis
  • Cost
    • pH $3.00
      • Indication of general soil nutrient availability
      • Lime recommendation when appropriate for soil buffering capacity
    • Macro nutrients $7.00
      • P, K, Ca, Mg
  • Does not test for pathogens, insects, nematodes, or soil N
  • Does not make interpretation for soil extractable Ca and Fe
  • Does not estimate pollution risk
A soil nutrient analysis is a predictive estimation of plant growth response to an applied nutrient #1
  • Nutrient and lime recommendations are based on plant growth responses which have been correlated with the levels of nutrient extracted in a soil test
  • The soil is not inert, it continuously absorbs and releases nutrients
    • The recommendation takes into account these nutrients
A soil nutrient analysis is a predictive estimation of plant growth response to an applied nutrient #2
  • Probability of a response to a fertilizer application if the nutrient level is:
    • Low - 75%
    • Medium – 50%
    • High - unlikely
master gardener volunteer plant clinic soil ph 1
Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic Soil pH #1
  • Test results can do the following
    • Assist in plant selection (e.g. “acid loving plants”)
    • Tells you if you may need to modify soil pH
      • The analysis does not tell you how much to lime
    • Indication of general soil fertility

Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic

master gardener volunteer plant clinic soil ph 2
Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic Soil pH #2
  • Does not predict liming requirement
    • Does not account for soil buffering capacity
    • If a specific lime recommendation is needed you must send the sample to the Extension Soil Testing Lab in Gainesville

Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic

irrigation water analysis
Tests for

Liming potential


Suspended solids

Cost $9.00 to $10.00

Tests water for irrigation quality, not a test for safety of consumption

Sample should be taken “mid-stream”

Run water for several minutes before collecting

Collect nearest to irrigation outlet

Irrigation water analysis
insect identification services 1
Insect Identification Services #1
  • Gives written report of insect diagnosis, you must decide if the insect is the cause of the problem
  • Cost $8.00
  • Follow detailed packing directions
    • Depends on type of insect
  • Fill out form in pencil or ink that will not run if wetted.
  • Take special note of where the insect was found and what was infested
  • The more specimens the merrier!!
bad sample preparation
Bad sample preparation

Ants on scotch tape

Spider in plastic bag

plant identification 1
Plant Identification #1
  • A partnership between UF-IFAS and the Florida Museum of Natural History’s herbarium
  • Cost $0.00
  • Press plant between newspaper and cardboard
    • Not in plastic bag
  • If the plant can not be identified by available references at the county office, then contact your county agent to submit sample.
extension plant disease clinic
Extension Plant Disease Clinic
  • Diagnosis of pathogen isolated from the submitted sample
  • Use Plant Disease Diagnostic Form
  • Cost
    • Regular sample $20.00
    • Lethal Yellowing $75.00, Fusarium Wilt $55.00
  • Sample should include:
    • Plant tissue reflective of the problem
      • Roots, shoots, or leaves
    • Transition zone between healthy and diseased plant tissue
  • Provide as much information as possible
    • Plant species and cultivar submitted
    • Pesticides or fertilizers applied recently
extension plant disease clinic additional notes
Extension Plant Disease ClinicAdditional Notes
  • Only send root samples in plastic bag
    • remove excess soil but leave enough to prevent desiccation
  • Do not send leaves in plastic bag
  • The accuracy of clinic results may be affected by recently applied pesticides.
    • When possible, sample before treatment
  • New rapid turf diagnostic service for commercial turf managers (e.g. golf courses, athletic fields, etc.)
    • See your county agent if you have such a request
    • $75.00
a sample packaged properly20
A sample packaged properly
  • Roots in plastic bag, entire sample wrapped in dry paper towel
bad sample preparation21
Bad sample preparation

Crushed sample packed in a wet paper towel

nematode assay lab
Nematode Assay Lab
  • Cost $20.00
  • Estimation of the RISK to a specific crop or plant based on the number and type of nematodes present in the soil sample
  • Sample soil from symptomatic area
    • If tree or shrub sample near drip line
    • Roots are important too
    • Use sample submission kit!!!
    • Place sample in plastic bag, then box
  • If foliar nematodes are suspected, send sample folded into a slightly damped paper towel in a plastic bag
nematode assay lab 1
Nematode Assay Lab #1
  • Bag should be filled with enough soil to about fill the box
  • Place roots in plastic bag with soil to keep moist
what s the difference between these two panels
What’s the difference between these two panels

Don’t use soil nutrient analysis bag to package nematode samples!!!


Good sample collection, packaging and handling is important because:

A lot can happen between here

and here !!