We asked the experts: What’s the most important thing to consider when diagnosing a turf disease correctly?
Jill Calabro, Plant Pathologist | Nufarm
First, you need to identify an appropriate diagnostic lab. Most major universities will have extension services available and some will have dedicated turf disease diagnostic labs. North Carolina State University and the University of Wisconsin are two great examples. Some private groups also offer diagnostic services. Once you select a lab, consult them on how to prepare or select a sample. They can offer very good recommendations on what to do. When you send in a sample, send live plant tissue if possible, not just dead plants/turf. When you send in dead tissue, there are other microbes present that can confuse the diagnosis. For example, if you have a patch of diseased turf, collect a cup cutter plug from the expanding margin so you’re collecting healthy tissue and diseased tissue where the pathogen is most active.