Plant Health Laboratory

The Plant Health Laboratory provides diagnoses for plant health problems affecting crops and plants grown in B.C., including:

  • Plant diseases
  • Assessments for non-pathogenic (abiotic) disorders
  • Insect pests

Vision

A thriving, sustainable agricultural industry free from serious impacts caused by pests and diseases, for the benefit of all citizens of British Columbia.

Mission

To diagnose, monitor, and assist in the prevention and management of plant pests and diseases in British Columbia.

Standard diagnostic procedures

The Plant Health Laboratory uses a wide range of methods & procedures to make diagnoses, including microscopic examination, culturing, conventional and real-time PCR, sequencing, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs), insect identifications, Biolog testing, ImmunoStrip testing, and electron microscopy.

Soil testing is limited to clubroot detection and pH and EC readings.

The Plant Health Laboratory does not offer chemical analysis of soil or plant tissue samples for nutrient content or chemical residues.

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.

Fee schedule (including GST) and response times

For sample types other than cannabis:

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

For cannabis/hemp samples (NEW - Read the Notice of Change (PDF, 61 KB)):

  • In-province cannabis (7-10 business days) = $52.50
  • Out-of-province cannabis (7-10 business days) = $78.75

Diagnostic response time is not guaranteed and may vary depending on the required tests and the volume of samples in the laboratory at the time of submission.  Please contact the Plant Health Laboratory directly if a specific response time is required.

Laboratory results are only released once 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.

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 (PDF, 1.2 MB) 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. Select plant tissue from the advancing edge of the symptoms.  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 and club root 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 packaging 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, root ball 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 fresh and packaged adequately so that they arrive in suitable condition for examination.

  • 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
  • Couriers deliver samples to the Plant Health Laboratory once per day

Please contact the laboratory with any additional questions.