Plant health and insect sample preparation and packaging

The following information relates to:

What 'additional information' is useful?

The 'additional information' required on the Plant disease diagnosis request form (PDF, 371.52 KB) may include details on:

  • cropping history
  • types of neighbouring plants
  • slope
  • temperature
  • humidity
  • whether the crop is in the field, greenhouse, shadehouse or under hail netting
  • irrigation (type and frequency)
  • source of water
  • date of last repotting
  • possible spray drift issues
  • soil types
  • potting mix (supplier and/or components)
  • drainage
  • unusual recent weather conditions.

How do you prepare the sample and send it?

Our ability to accurately diagnose your problem depends on receiving fresh, properly prepared specimens and a complete and accurate case history.

  • Specimens can be sent by courier mail or can be delivered in person. If delivered in person, please note that results will be sent to you on completion of the investigation — they will not be immediately provided.
  • All specimens should be packed to ensure the plant/insect remains intact.
  • The package must contain the sample submission form (Plant disease diagnosis request form (PDF, 371.52 KB) or Insect identification request form (PDF, 29.91 KB)) and be enclosed in a sealed plastic bag.
  • Send specimens early in the week, where possible, to avoid delays over the weekend.

Diseased plant or damaged plant samples

  • Submit whole plants with roots and soil, where practical.
  • Submit samples that have a range of symptoms, from light to severe, representative of the field symptoms. Do not send dead plants.
  • Where it is not practical to submit the entire plant, send damaged/infected parts of plants.
  • Wrap plant samples in slightly damp newspaper to help maintain freshness. Do not package plant material in plastic bags over the summer months.

Insect and invertebrate samples

  • Put live or dead specimens in an appropriately sized and unbreakable container (e.g. film canister for small insects), and then wrap with padding. Specialised kits for submitting insect samples to the laboratory are available. Please call 1800 675 821.
  • Send immature forms (caterpillars etc.) with plenty of its food plant that will assist in rearing to adult.

Submission details

A fee will apply for testing. An invoice will be sent to the authorised person as stated on the sample submission form, after the results are issued. You must provide details in all sections of the Plant disease diagnosis request form (PDF, 371.52 KB) or the Insect identification request form (DOCX, 41.64 KB). The authorisation must be signed in order for the work to be carried out. Failure to satisfactorily fill out submission details or sign the authorisation may result in a denial of service.

Contact details

Contact details, including postal address for submitting samples: