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Submitting Samples to the Crop Protection Laboratory

By Mikayla Hagel, Laboratory Admin Assistant, Regina

July 2018

The Crop Protection Laboratory is able to accept samples for diagnosis sent in by mail, or by stopping in at the lab located in Regina at 346 McDonald Street. Here are some guidelines for submitting samples to the lab via mail.

Plants

  • Take the entire plant from the ground and wash the soil off of the root system. Include as much as the root system as possible, as this can assist the specialist with the diagnosis.

  • Wrap the roots in a moist paper towel, but do not send an extremely wet paper towel, as this can cause the plant to rot. 

  • Place the plant and damp paper towel in a plastic produce bag. These plastic bags have perforated vent holes that allow the sample to maintain humidity without rotting.

  • Place the sample in a hard-sided container and mail the sample to the lab through the courier of your choice.

  • Submit five to 10 healthy and diseased plants.

  • Make sure to send a completed Plant Disease Diagnostic form along with your sample.

  • Optional: You can submit pictures along with the sample or email them to us at cpl@gov.sk.ca as an attachment to aid in the diagnosis process.

Trees and Shrubs

  • Prune healthy and diseased branches off of your tree and place them in a hard-sided shipping package to be sent to the Crop Protection Lab through the courier of your choice. Take roughly an arm’s length of a branch for larger trees and an entire branch for smaller shrubs.

  • Make sure to send a completed Plant Disease Diagnostic form along with your sample.

  • Optional: You can submit pictures along with the sample or email them to us at cpl@gov.sk.ca as an attachment. Pictures of the tree and surrounding area with your sample can be extremely helpful in diagnosing diseases in trees and shrubs.

Weeds

  • When submitting weeds for identification, make sure to send a mature plant with flowers, as this can aid in the identification process.

  • Take the entire plant from the ground and wash the soil off of the root system. Make sure to include as much of the root system as possible, as this can help the specialist with identification.

  • Wrap the roots in a moist paper towel, but do not send an extremely wet paper towel, as this can cause the plant to rot.

  • Place the plant and the damp paper towel in a plastic produce bag. These plastic bags have perforated vent holes that allow the sample to maintain humidity without rotting.

  • Place the weed in a hard-sided shipping package and mail the sample to the lab through the courier of your choice along with the completed Weed Identification Form.

Insects

  • When submitting insects for identification through the mail, do not send a live sample.

  • Place insects in an airtight container and put in a freezer overnight.

  • Submit multiple insects in varying developing stages (eggs, larvae and mature insects), as this can aid with the identification process.

  • Send frozen insects in the mail along with a completed Insect Identification Form.

Dutch Elm Disease (DED)

DED testing is done free of charge for Saskatchewan residents. Out-of-province samples are not accepted.

How to take a good DED sample:

  1. Examine the elm tree. Look for yellow/brown wilting or curling leaves.
  2. Only sample an elm tree between June 1 and Sept. 30, as infected leaves may be confused with leaves changing colour in the fall.
  3. Sterilize your pruning tools with 10 per cent bleach, 70 per cent rubbing alcohol or gas line antifreeze.
  4. Choose a branch showing symptoms of wilting or flagging. Infected wood may appear to be stained brown. To confirm, peel back the bark and look for brown staining in the sapwood, or just under the bark. While staining is a strong indicator of DED, it is not always present in a diseased tree.
  5. Select a smooth and straight branch, without any cankers or knots, and that is not dried out or dead. Ensure the branch is 1 to 1.5 cm in diameter (about the size of your index finger).
  6. Cut three to four branches. Each piece should be 10 to 15 cm long (see photo 1). Please do not send elm leaves, elm trunks or large branches to the lab.
  7. Remove the leaves and twigs from the cut pieces of the branch, but do not remove the bark.
  8. Wrap all branch pieces in wax paper and secure with tape to prevent drying.
  9. If sampling more than one tree, be sure to sterilize your pruning tools between trees. Keep each sample separate and clearly marked/identified.
  10. If the sample needs to be stored temporarily prior to submission, it should be kept in a cooler or a fridge to prevent deterioration of the sample.
  11. Ensure that the sample is taken from a branch showing symptoms; otherwise, the results may not be accurate.
  12. Place the sample(s) in an envelope and make sure to include your name, address, phone number and the location of the tree(s).
  13. Send the sample as soon as possible to: 
    Crop Protection Laboratory 
    346 McDonald Street
    Regina SK S4N 6P6



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