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AgCenter diagnostic center helps solve plant health problems

News Release Distributed 07/11/14

BATON ROUGE, La. – When people get sick, they usually call their doctor. Louisiana residents and extension personnel can do the same thing when their plants get sick, thanks to the LSU AgCenter's Plant Diagnostic Center. There, director of the center and "plant doctor" Raj Singh can examine samples and help with just about any plant health problem.

The center provides affordable, accurate and rapid diagnoses of plant health problems and offers solutions. Using plant samples that owners send or bring to the center, Singh can diagnose various issues caused by pathogens, insects, mites and nematodes.

Singh receives hundreds of samples per year from homeowners and extension agents as well as commercial vegetable growers, nurseries and turfgrass managers. Most samples are of ornamental plants, and the most common problem is diseases caused by fungi.

In addition to routine diagnostic services, the Plant Diagnostic Center conducts surveys for citrus insects and diseases, sudden oak death, sugarcane yellow leaf and ratoon stunting.

Singh said many issues, such as plants being planted too deep or having bad drainage, can be easily fixed. Other problems are more serious.

"If you have a tomato plant and it's dying because of a soil-borne bacterial or fungal pathogen, you need to know that," Singh said. "You can't just plant another tomato plant in the same spot because the pathogen will still be in your soil."

The process of submitting a sample for analysis depends on the plant and the problem. Most samples can be mailed, but sometimes it is better to bring the plant to the center. Other times, solutions can be identified by emailing photos to Singh.

Initial analysis of most samples costs $20. Professional turfgrass clients are charged $75. If further testing is needed, fees apply and vary depending on the problem.

To learn how to submit a sample, go to and search for Plant Diagnostic Center or call 225-578-4562.

Olivia McClure

Last Updated: 7/11/2014 10:50:56 AM

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