Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Plant info




Collecting and packaging samples

Collecting samples

Select live material:

  • Root diseases: collect samples of soil and diseased roots from several places around and beneath plants. Dig four holes at each cardinal point, away from the trunk or main stem, roughly below the canopy dripline. Scrape away leaf litter or mulch and dig down about 15 cm. Bulk samples together to make approximately two coffee mugfuls. Where possible, part or whole root system should be included. If sending more than one sample, disinfect tools with 70% methylated spirits to avoid cross contamination.
  • Foliar diseases: collect a range of mildly to severely infected and healthy leaves, place in newspaper or paper bags, then wrap in plastic. 
  • Insect and mite pests: collect several pests and some of the damaged plant material.
  • Wilt diseases: dig up plants and submit all of the plant material if practical.
  • Fungal decay and rot: forward rotted material and fruiting bodies of any fungi.
  • Potted plants: collect healthy and diseased specimens.

Packaging your samples

  • Soil samples should be placed in plastic bags (e.g. zip-lock bags) and then secured in sturdy containers.
  • Shoots, leaves and flowers should be placed in paper in a plastic bag.
  • Insects, fungal specimens - including mushrooms and bracket fungi - and host material should be placed in a sturdy container, e.g. take-away plastic containers (preferably non-glass).
  • Label each specimen clearly with your name using a permanent marker.
  • Please include your name, address,  phone/fax number and email address (if available).
  • Also include any information you can provide about the specimens.

Note: Please contact our laboratory on (02) 9231 8186 before sending samples.


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Deliver specimens to

Plant Disease Diagnostic Unit
Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust
Mrs Macquaries Rd
Sydney NSW 2000

Other contact details

Telephone: (02) 9231 8186
Facsimile: (02) 9241 1135
Email: pddu@rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au