This is nothing new. The University of Illinois Plant Clinic closes in mid-September each year and opens again the following May. It may come as a surprise that we are only two weeks away from closing. The Plant Clinic will close for the season at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, September 15, 1998. It will reopen May 1, 1999.
Any samples received at the clinic by September 15 will be processed. Anything received after that date will not be processed. There is no funding to staff the clinic in the winter months; diagnosis will be handled through the local Extension offices without the aid of a lab. In most cases, the lab is not needed in the winter months.
Diagnostic staff becomes a skeleton crew after September 15, and it takes until the end of the month to finish all samples still in culture or needing extra help. October has already been booked with meetings, prep time, and publication deadlines. In the past we have tried to continue handling samples as time allows. This often results in ill feelings by clients who do not understand that we are trying to fit them in to whatever available time could be found. This also causes much anxiety among clinic staff, because we try to please everyone. We can no longer continue to do this.
Samples received after September 15 will be returned. REALLY! There will be no one available to handle samples at the clinic.
If you have a plant problem after the closing date, the first step should still be to contact your local Extension office. If it is then determined that you need help from a specialist, the following people may be available for telephone questions.
- Insect problems: Phil Nixon, 333-6650
- Disease problems: Nancy Pataky, 333-2478
- Tree/shrub care: Dave Williams, 333-2126 or Floyd Giles, 333-2125
- Turf care: Tom Voigt, 333-7847
- Herbaceous plant problems: Jim Schmidt, 244-5153
- Nematode questions: Dale Edwards, 244-2011
Do not send samples unless you have first spoken with a specialist and established that a sample is needed. There is no lab service after September 15.