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Checklist for Submitting Turfgrass Samples

All turfgrass samples should include:

  • A sample approximately the size of a “cup-cutter” or a circle of a 4 inches in diameter and 4 inches deep
  • Collect the sample from the area where disease is advancing – where grass with symptoms and grass with no symptoms meet
  • Do not collect samples from completely dead or bare areas
  • Include roots and underlying soil (up to 4 inch thick sample in most cases)
  • Include a healthy grass sample
  • Wrap each sample in moist (not soaking wet) paper towel or brown paper individually and securely. Do not wet or soak the grass or the soil.  The sample may be patted dry with a towel if collected during or following heavy rainfall or irrigation. Do not use plastic bags for the samples.
  • Place the samples in a cardboard box and stuff the box with newspaper or packing material, so that the samples are held securely in the box for transport.
  • Overnight shipping provides us a fresh sample and usually results in faster turnaround  
  • Fill out the “Turfgrass Sample Submission Form” completely and place it in a plastic bag to keep it clean, and put it in the box with the sample. Please include your address and phone number.
  • Inclusion of photographs of the overall affected turf area and close-ups with the submission form or emailing digital photos (wxu2@psu.edu) to the Clinic is very helpful.

Deteriorated or improperly prepared and shipped samples and incomplete sample submission information make diagnosis difficult and slows the process. An additional sample will be requested in such cases. Depending on the nature of the cause of the problem, sample processing times vary. While some diseases are diagnosed rapidly, others require extensive laboratory procedures to produce conclusive results. 

Submit samples to:

Turfgrass Disease Clinic
Department of Plant Pathology
106 Buckhout Laboratory
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802

814-863-4498 or 814-865-7350