Plant Health Laboratory

The Plant Health Laboratory provides diagnosis of plant health problems caused by insects and disease affecting crops and plants grown in B.C. including:

  • Plant diseases
  • Non-pathogenic disorders
  • Insect pests

Standard Diagnostic Procedure:

Includes microscopic examination, culturing, Biolog for bacterial identification, Immuno-strip test for fungi, bacteria and viruses, micro-well ELISA if available for the target organism, insect identification, molecular testing of fungi, bacteria, viruses, phytoplasma, nematodes and insects (PCR - Conventional or real-time) and electron microscopy. Soil testing is limited to pH and EC reading, clubroot detection and nematode assessments. Analysis for soil, tissue, nutrient or chemical residue is NOT available.

Submissions

Plant samples displaying different symptoms or collected from different locations are considered separate submissions.

If the problem is widespread (common to many hosts or varieties), these samples can be submitted under one submission number. A diagnostic report will be provided on the submission as a whole, not on individual plants.

Golf course samples from different areas / greens require separate submission numbers.

All test results are confidential and will remain the property of the client except where the Plant Health Laboratory is required to report the results (quarantine or regulatory significance) to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Cost per submission (including GST) & Payment

Laboratory results cannot be released until payment has been received. VISA, MasterCard, AMEX, Debit and Cheque (payable to "Minister of Finance") are accepted. Enclose payment with the sample and submission form or contact the Plant Health Laboratory to arrange for payment.

  • Urgent (up to 7 weekdays) = $31.50
  • Routine (7-10 weekdays) = $21.00
  • Casual (10-20 weekdays) = $15.75

Diagnostic response time is not guaranteed and may vary depending on the required tests and procedures for the sample.  Please contact the Plant Health Laboratory directly if a specific response time is required.

Collection and Handling of Samples

  • Collect a sample that shows the problem.  A whole plant with roots and soil is best. If the plants are small, send several. If insect damage is suspected, collect the insects. Refer to “How to Submit Plant Samples for Diagnosis” for detailed information on collecting and packaging a sample.
  • Submit several plants or plant parts showing the various symptoms. It is better to submit too much of a specimen than too little.
  • Do not submit dead or decayed tissue. Include a healthy plant for comparison, if possible.
  • Turf disease samples should be at least 10cm by 10cm and as deep as the roots. Include the margin of the affected areas in each sample.
  • Soil samples for pH, electrical conductivity, club root and nematode assessments may require specific collection techniques, please contact the Plant Health Lab with enquiries.
  • If a sample cannot be mailed immediately, keep it refrigerated or out of direct sunlight.
  • For woody specimens (i.e. branches, stem sections, roots and crown), ensure that samples do not dry out by wrapping in a damp paper towel and sealing in a plastic bag.
  • Dig up plants rather than pulling them from the ground to preserve feeder roots. If plants are potted, submit the whole pot. Enclose base of the plant, roots and pots in a plastic bag so that it is secured at the plant crown to prevent drying of roots and contamination of leaves with soil. Include roots with samples showing symptoms of dieback.

Sample Shipping

There are multiple options for getting your samples to the Plant Health Laboratory. All samples should be delivered to the laboratory as early in the day as possible. Samples must be well preserved so that they arrive in suitable condition for examination and adequately packaged so that they are properly preserved.

  • Direct delivery to the Plant Health Laboratory, weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
  • Urgent or perishable samples should be couriered to the Plant Health Laboratory
  • Greyhound Bus Depot delivers samples to the Plant Health Laboratory once per day

Please contact the laboratory with any questions.