When does the Plant Clinic open again? This question pops up as soon as the weather warms. In fact, plenty of folks were calling with this question in mid-February. Despite the snow of late March, temperatures are soon going to attract us to the great outdoors with renewed enthusiasm to work in the lawn, garden, landscape, or nursery. Regardless, the Plant Clinic once again will open its doors May 1. That is when we have staff to run the facility and the demand to meet it. Many of you must be out there working with plants despite the weather. If you have pressing problems, work with your local Extension office, try the Extension digital diagnosis system, or give me a call at (217)333-0519, and we will find someone who can help before the lab service is available. You can also contact me electronically at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What can the Plant Clinic do for you? The Plant Clinic is a clearinghouse for plant problems sent to the University of Illinois from May to mid-September. Diagnoses are provided on trees, shrubs, turf, fruit, vegetables, field crops, or any other type of plant you can imagine. In addition to Plant Clinic staff members on hand, other campus specialists are called to help with diagnoses as needed; and in an average year, about 20 different specialists may have input on plant samples.
Services include plant and insect identification; diagnosis of disease, insect, weed, and chemical injury symptoms (chemical residue testing is not available); nematode assays; and help with nutrientrelated problems, as well as management recommendations involving these diagnoses. The clinic cannot handle herbicide-injury problems on ornamental plants, nor can it assess nutrient levels in tissue or soil samples. Still, look-alike problems can be eliminated as possibilities.
Have the fees changed? No, the fees for clinic samples were increased in 1999. They remain as follows:
General diagnosis (including cultures), $12.50
Specialty tests (SCN* , PWN, ELISA), $18.75
Other nematodes (usually corn), $40.00
*SCN indicates the test for soybean cyst nematode. PWN indicates that for pinewood nematode analysis. ELISA is a technique used to test for various viral pathogens.
How do I find out more? The Plant Clinic has a Web site at cropsci.uiuc. edu/research/clinic/clinic.html. There, you will find information on the clinic's location, instructions on how to send a sample, a fee schedule, and more. If you would like to contact us by U.S. mail, the address is Plant Clinic, 1401 W. St. Mary's Rd., Urbana, IL 61802. The telephone number is (217)333-0519.