March 2020: Plant Disease Diagnostics in the Time of COVID-19

LAST UPDATE:  December 28, 2020

Over the past week, reports of COVID-19 in Wisconsin have increased dramatically.
 
To help keep PDDC customers and staff safe, I am making changes to the way the PDDC delivers services.
 
Below is a list of what will change, and what will remain the same.
 
I will update this list as UW-Madison and PDDC policies change.
 

Update 4/30/2021

 

Starting May 10, 2021, the PDDC will once again be accepting walk-in samples delivered to the shelving unit in the hallway outside the clinic (Rm. 183 Russell Labs).  However, due to continued concerns about COVID-19, clinic staff will not be available to interact with clients.  Also, anyone entering Russell Labs is required to wear a mask and practice social distancing (6 ft. between people).  For additional details on the procedure for submitting digital samples online and physical samples (either in-person or via mail), please see the 12/28/20 update below.

Update 12/28/2020

 

As we enter into 2021, COVID-19 continues to be of concern.  Therefore, physical sample submissions to the PDDC will continue to follow the same protocol and prioritization as outlined in my update of April 24, 2020 (see below).   The only changes for the new year are that the PDDC will now charge a $20 fee for digital diagnostics, and there will be a $5 increase in the base fee for physical samples.  For a complete fee schedule, click here.  To submit photos for a digital diagnosis, click here.  To access the PDDC submission form to be included with physical samples, click here.  

Update 4/24/2020

 

The PDDC has been authorized to begin accepting physical samples  again.  However, clinic staffing and hours will be limited, and the number of samples that the clinic will be able to accommodate will be severely restricted. 

Before submitting a sample, you must contact the PDDC using the form on this page , by emailing bdh@plantpath.wisc.edu or by calling (608) 262-2863.  If you use the clinic online form or email the clinic, please include photos whenever possible.  Based on this initial contact, clinic staff will determine if a digital diagnosis is possible or if a physical sample submission is needed.

Even with prescreening, the PDDC will likely not be able to accommodate all samples that would normally require submission of a physical samples.  As needed, physical sample submissions will be prioritized as follows:

  • Commercial production food and agriculture-related samples (e.g., vegetables, fruits, field and forage crops);
  • Commercial/homeowner samples of regulatory importance (e.g., late blight, boxwood blight);
  • Commercial production, non-food samples (e.g., nursery, greenhouse samples);
  • Homeowner food samples (e.g., vegetables, fruits);
  • Commercial/homeowner non-production, non-food samples (e.g., trees, shrubs, herbaceous ornamentals).

Certain regulatory samples (e.g., sudden oak death/Ramorum blight) will be redirected to the Plant Industry Lab at WI DATCP.

Digital diagnoses will continue to be provided free of charge.   Normal clinic fees will apply to any physical samples submitted to the PDDC.

Update 3/28/2020
 
Until further notice, the PDDC will not be accepting any physical samples for diagnosis.  Customers are welcome to continue submitting questions and/or digital photos to the PDDC by submitting the form on this page.   

Update 3/18/2020

 
CALS administration has closed the Russell Labs building to visitors. PDDC customers may only submit samples by mail.

Plant Disease Diagnostics:

  • We will still accept samples for diagnosis.
  • You can still submit your diseased plants by mail.
  • The building is locked, so you can no longer drop off samples in person.
  • I am discontinuing in-person consultations about samples.
  • I will continue to mail out hard copies of reports and invoices.  If you prefer I email your results, please note this on your submission form.

Presentations:

  • All in-person PDDC presentations are cancelled until further notice.
  • Instead, I can provide presentations on a number of topics via remote learning.
    • Click here to learn more about the topics offered.
    • Call me (608-262-2863) or email me (pddc@wisc.edu) to learn more about possible remote learning options (e.g. teleconferencing/ videoconferencing, etc.).

Online Resources:

Consultations:

  • In-person consultations are discontinued until further notice.
  • Phone (608-262-2863) and email (pddc@wisc.edu) channels are still open.  Digital photos showing the disease problems are welcome, please attach them to your email.  I may not be able to make a formal diagnosis from your photos, but I will do my best.

Most of All…

Stay safe everyone!  I wish you well in the challenging days ahead!!