HYG  Pest newsletterInsectsHorticulturePlant DiseasesWeedsSearch
{short description of image}

Issue Index

Past Issues

Plant Clinic Opens May 3rd

April 14, 1999
It is difficult to find an innovative way to announce the annual opening of the University of Illinois Plant Clinic. May 3rd marks the 24th year of operation, and I have been here for 22 of them. Many of you are not familiar with the clinic and its operation, although others use the system regularly. Regardless of your experience, please bring all of the information that follows to the attention of office staff, field staff, educators, master gardeners, or anyone who has contact with our clients. Sending in appropriate samples the first time around can save valuable time and effort for you and the clinic staff.

The Plant Clinic is a seasonal service offered by University of Illinois Extension, available May 3rd through mid-September. The clinic handles plant and insect identification; diagnosis of disease, insect, weed, and chemical injury; and nematode assays. We also provide help with nutrient-related problems, as well as recommendations involving all diagnoses. The clearinghouse concept for plant problems has been in existence at the University of Illinois since 1976 when the clinic opened. Although this multidisciplinary venture is managed through the Crop Sciences Department, operation relies on input from both research and Extension components in many departments. Specialists in agronomy, botany, entomology, horticulture, mycology, plant pathology, soils, soil fertility, and weed sciences are consulted as they are needed, but they do not have offices at the clinic.

Although field crops generally comprise about 55% of the clinic samples, we process a large number of woody and nonwoody ornamental plants (35–40% of the number of samples), and a smaller number of fruits, vegetables, and turf. An average year generates approximately 2,600 samples. The clinic will attempt to help with any plant problem, but the main limitation with specialty plants is locating a campus-based expert to provide help.

Is the clinic a service you should use? That depends on what you have tried to do to get an answer to your problem. Hopefully, you have tried to work through your local Extension office, agricultural consultant, chemical representative, seed dealer, or others involved in the problem. Our lab is most helpful in providing specific tests, laboratory backup, or an unbiased opinion based on plant samples and facts. If you choose to use the Plant Clinic, remember the adage, “Garbage in, garbage out.” In that regard, try to provide a complete sample as well as photos and facts concerning symptom development over time, cultural practices, chemicals used (including rates), fertility practices, weather in your area, soil type, and other pertinent information. Specimen data forms to guide you through this information retrieval are available at Extension offices or by calling the clinic at (217) 333-0519.

The Plant Clinic is located on the South Farms of the University of Illinois. The address is 1401 West St. Mary’s Road, Urbana, IL 61802. There is a fee for samples to help cover costs. The fees have not changed since the early 1980s and will have to be increased in 1999. Details will be available in the next newsletter.

Remember, the clinic does not open until May 3rd. If you send samples before that date, a fresh sample will likely be needed when the clinic opens.

If you have questions about the clinic, contact Nancy Pataky at patakyn@mail.aces.uiuc.edu. Before May 1st, I can be reached by telephone at (217) 333-2478. The Plant Clinic telephone number is (217) 333-0519. (Nancy Pataky)

Author: Nancy Pataky


College Links