Do you have plants with spots, speckles and holes? Think you have a handle on what’s going on but unsure of what to do? The University of Minnesota horticulture team can help fruit and vegetable growers get answers to questions and figure out issues.
Simply fill out the form below to submit your questions, issues and contact information.
After you submit the form and photos, one of our team members will contact you with a diagnosis, a request for more information, or a suggestion to submit the samples to a plant disease clinic.
Find helpful tips for taking photos in the Frequently Asked Questions section below.
The more information you can give us, the better we will be able to diagnose what's going on.
Gardening in your own backyard?
If you are a home gardener, please submit your questions to Ask a Master Gardener.
Frequently asked questions
Natural lighting is important
Try to take photos using good natural lighting. Bringing plant samples back to the office also brings them out of sunlight and results in poor picture quality.
Photograph both leaf surfaces
For foliar disease symptoms, take photos from both the top and bottom leaf surfaces. Sometimes getting photos of leaf tissue that is backlit (the leaf is situated between your camera and the sun) can reveal important clues.
Don't forget the stalks, stems and roots
Sometimes there can be foliar symptoms caused by pathogens that remain in root or stem tissue. Even though the most evident symptoms may be in the foliage, splitting stems, stalks and roots can provide valuable clues that will aid in diagnosis.
Examine the outside of stems and stalks and take a photo of any lesions (wounds caused by a pathogen) that are present.
Ignore the dead plants (photograph the sick, but alive ones)
Do not send photos of dead plants. If you observe a patch of dead or diseased plants, look to close by, still living plants for photos.
There are many fungi that are not pathogens but colonize dead or dying plant tissue. If you send dead plants into a plant disease clinic, you probably won't get a diagnosis.
Capture photos of healthy and diseased plants from the same field for comparison. If a fruit tree appears to be partially dead, send photos that include both the dead and alive parts.
Show the scale of the problem
Submit a picture that shows the general location of the problem, and one taken from closer that highlights affected plants.
There is no cost to use this service.
The University of Minnesota horticulture team exists to help growers, and helping growers answer their questions is core to our mission.
We will strive to reach you within three business days of your form submission.
Our goal is to communicate with you to provide a timely diagnosis. We may need to get additional information that would better lead to a diagnosis and prompt management if it's warranted.
Expect someone from the U of M Extension horticulture team to contact you by phone or email with a diagnosis and management recommendations.
Make sure to give your contact information in the form when you submit it.
We will let you know if we recommend sending a sample to the plant disease clinic for a definitive diagnosis.
Diagnoses and management recommendations provided by this program or by smartphone apps are only as good as the quality of information (photos and context clues) that you can provide.
While we will be able to provide diagnoses and recommendations for some submissions with a high degree of confidence, for other submissions diagnoses would only be possible by sending a sample to a plant disease clinic.
For viral diseases or diseases caused by multiple pathogens working together, laboratory tests may be the only way to provide a diagnosis.
Reviewed in 2021