Horticulture pathology

SARDI provides the following services:

  • Disease and nematode identification for all horticultural crops, details about the cause of diseases and possible management (where available)
  • Insect identification

Specimen testing

Complete the sample submission form for the test you need:

Preparing and delivering your specimen

We can only make accurate diagnoses if you carefully select and package your specimens. If in doubt contact the laboratory before sampling and sending the specimen.

You should arrange fast delivery to avoid deterioration of the specimens you want us to test - express post is preferred.

DO NOT send specimens on a Friday.

Specimen sampling

Container plants:

  • choose pots or trays with plants showing a range of symptoms, from initial to advanced stages.

Plants wilting, yellowing and dying back:

  • dig up and submit whole plants (if feasible) together with soil around roots
  • dead plants are not suitable for disease identification.

Fruit, leaves, flowers, twigs and branches:

  • select specimens that have both diseased and adjacent healthy areas.

Root diseases (e.g. Phytophthora or Rhizoctonia testing):

  • collect a few sub-samples of soil and roots from beneath each plant to a depth of 15cm
  • make a representative sample of about 500g for each plant or location.


Our Nematology Screening group also offers screening services for cereal cyst nematode, Pratylenchus and stem nematode on a fee-for-service basis.

Specimen packaging

Please ensure your sample is packed securely for postage or courier.

Delivery tips:

  • label each of your samples with a waterproof marker
  • only send specimen sheets or letters with your sample if they’re in a plastic bag
  • couriers may refuse to handle plant material if it isn’t well packaged
  • use express post if you are mailing your specimens
  • mark your package: 'Urgent – plant samples'.


Timeframes will depend on the tests you requested.

We will be able to give you an estimated timeframe for your final report once we have received your sample.

We will give you a written report and invoice once we have completed all testing.

Services fees


Postal delivery address

SARDI Horticulture Pathology
Diagnostic Service
Plant Research Centre
GPO Box 397
Adelaide SA 5001

In-person delivery address

SARDI Horticulture Pathology
Diagnostic Service
Plant Research Centre
Gateway 2B
Hartley Grove
Urrbrae SA 5064


Horticulture diagnostics

Dr Cathryn Todd
Phone: (08) 8429 2249
Email: cathryn.todd@sa.gov.au

Virus testing

Ms Sue Pederick
Phone: (08) 8429 2214
Fax: (08) 8303 9393
Email: sue.pederick@sa.gov.au

Page Last Reviewed: 06 Feb 2015
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