Turf sample analysis for disease identification

Accurate disease diagnosis is essential if appropriate controls are to be implemented.  Several fungi may well be present in or on any given turf sample, but the skill in identifying the disease problem relies on experience and a knowledge of turfgrass management.

If you would like to send a turf sample for analysis, please follow the procedure outlined below:

1. Please give me a call to let me know that you are sending a sample.  Although this is not essential, you are likely to get a faster reply if I know that the sample is being sent.  If I am going to be away from the office for a while, I can advise you of the best time to send a sample in for analysis and discuss the problem with you beforehand.

2. Remove a representative sample of turf from the edge of the affected area.  If there are several small patches across the turf area, take the sample such that the whole patch is present on the sample. Individual turf samples should be approximately 10 cm (4 inches) diameter - hollow tine cores are no use for disease identification. You can always send one sample from an affected area and a second sample from an apparently unaffected area, for comparison. 

3. Wrap the samples tightly in newspaper to ensure that the rootzone material does not contaminate the sward.  Do not wrap the sample directly in polythene as this will encourage rapid deterioration of the sward during transit and hinder disease diagnosis.

4. Label the sample to identify where it has been taken from.  This will help you to interpret the results when they are sent to you.  Please give some history of the problem if you can.

5. Pack your sample tightly in a cardboard box to limit the amount of movement during transport and enclose your contact details with the sample.  Please use ballpoint pens to write your note - marker pens run when damp and become unreadable.  You can also copy your contact details on the outside of the package.

6. Send your samples to The Turf Disease Centre by next day delivery.

7. The result of a sample analysis will be forwarded as quickly as possible, either by e-mail or fax, or sent by first class mail if the previous options are not available.  Ultimately, a hard copy of the result will be posted to you. 

If you allow your samples to remain in the post for an extended period of time,

they will deteriorate, making accurate identification difficult. 

If this happens, you may be asked to send new samples.


Turf sample analysis for pest identification

Analysis of turf samples for the identification of pests (nematodes, fly larvae, beetle larvae) will be completed in a similar manner to that done for disease identification.  However, if you suspect that the problem is due to invertebrate pests, please put the turf sample in to a plastic bag to prevent the material from drying out.  The cost for analysis will also be the same as for disease identification. 

Please note: an assessment for the presence of invertebrate pests is ALWAYS completed alongside a disease analysis to ensure that a full assessment of the problem is provided.