Photo of Mary Burrows using a lab microscope

This page contains the Schutter Diagnostic Lab submission forms, along with specific instructions to accompany the general guidelines.

Select a submission type from the page contents and follow its instructions.  Be sure to fill the form in completely, and to include a copy with your shipment.

Identification is free of charge for Montana residents.  A complete list of available tests can be found on our Services and Fees page.

For additional assistance with sample submission, please contact the Schutter Diagnostic Lab by email or telephone.

Contents

  1. Plant Identification
  2. Plant Disease and General Diagnostic
  3. Insect Identification
  4. Mushroom Identification
  5. Turf Disease Diagnostic
  6. Aquatic Plant Identification
  7. Legacy Forms
  8. Contact Information
 

Plant Identification

Outdoor photo of red berries growing on a vine

Follow the general submission instructions.  Send samples as soon as possible after collecting. Do not expose them to extreme temperatures.

  • Package the plant carefully. Place specimen in a zipper-lock plastic bag, seal it and place bag in a padded envelope or box. Do not add wet paper towels or water.

  • The ideal sample is an entire plant with flowers and roots intact. If this is not possible, send as many plant parts as possible (i.e. flowers, leaves, stems, roots, seeds, fruits, etc) to increase the chances of an accurate identification.

Please include a completed copy of this PDF form (205KB) with your plant sample submission:

return to contents

 

Plant Disease and General Diagnostic

Photo of a small leaf that appears wilting and unhealthy

Follow the general submission instructions.  Send plant samples as soon as possible after collecting. Package them in a sturdy container. Do not expose them to extreme temperatures.

  • Send sufficient plant material. Collect samples that show various stages of the problem and include a healthy plant or plant part for comparison. Whenever it is practical, include roots or the entire plant or a clump of plants. If that is not possible, include a branch or send a twig. Detached leaves or parts of leaves are seldom useful.
  • If you are sending a plant that includes roots, keep some soil around the root ball and off foliage. Wrap the root ball in plastic and secure with a rubber band around the base of the plant. This prevents the soil from damaging the leaves during shipping. Loosely enclose the foliage in plastic or paper. Do not add water or wet paper towels.
  • Avoid sending dead plants or plant parts since they are not useful for accurate diagnosis.

Please include a completed copy of this PDF form (162KB) with your plant sample submission:

return to contents

 

Insect Identification

Photo of a fly on a pink flower

Send specimens as soon as possible after collecting, try to also include a section of the host plant. Package in a sturdy container. Do not expose to extreme temperatures or allow to dry out.

  • We do not process human-related insect identification samples such as scotch tape samples from skin, hair, or other tissue samples. We also don't accept lint roller pieces. Insect identification samples must be a visible insect or arthropod that can be placed in a collecting jar or vial. 

  • Collect several insect specimens if possible

  • Place specimens in sturdy clear containers with tight fitting lids that are strong enough to survive mail or courier services.

    • Hard-bodied specimens can be sent in containers (rubbing alcohol not required).

    • Aphids, mites, spiders, small flies and larvae need to be sent in rubbing alcohol.

    • Caterpillars should be flash boiled (1 min) before placing in rubbing alcohol. 

    • Turf insects can be sent alive in soil/root samples mailed in a crush-proof box.

  • Describe damage of concern. If the insect is not included in the sample (damage sample only) describe the insect if possible (shape, body length, coloring, behavior).

  • Include the following collection information on your submission form:

    • Collection date.

    • Collection location (e.g. Helena MT).  Or, give nearest town and distance / direction from it (e.g. 7 mi. SW of Helena MT).

    • Collector’s name (not Extension agent etc).

    • Host plant identification (for example, green ash).  If the host is not a plant, describe environment of collection site (for example, kitchen windowsill, basement, bag of rice).

Please include a completed copy of this PDF form (250KB) with your insect submission:

return to contents

 

Mushroom Identification

Photo of a group of wild mushrooms that are growing on a tree trunk

Use a knife to carefully pluck mushrooms from the ground, ensuring that the cap, stem, and base are included. Send specimens as soon as possible after collecting, ship in a cardboard box. Wrap mushrooms in wax paper or newspaper (no plastic bags or envelopes); do not wrap different species together. If possible, include at least 2 samples of each species. Submit average sized specimens, not the largest or smallest.

  • Submit fresh specimens. If possible include both young and mature samples.

  • Send a complete specimen. Include the whole mushroom cap, stem and most importantly any underground structures.

  • Send at least 2 specimens. Wrap each specimen separately in wax paper or newspaper.

  • Do not place specimens in plastic bags since this will hasten decay.

  • What is your question is about the mushroom? For example, are you curious whether the mushroom is edible or poisonous?

Detailed mushroom collection guidelines.

Please include a completed copy of this PDF form (240KB) with your mushroom sample submission:

return to contents

 

Turf Disease Diagnostic

Close-up photo of a lawn, with sky and a tree in the background

Follow the general submission instructions.  Send samples as soon as possible after collecting. Do not expose them to extreme temperatures.

Please include a completed copy of this PDF form (282KB) with your turf sample submission:

return to contents

 

Aquatic Plant Identification

Winter photo of snowy banks along Bozeman Creek

Aquatic samples deteriorate quickly. Wrap specimens around layers of wet paper towels, then place them in a sealed plastic bag. Ship in a Styrofoam cooler with an ice pack. Photos help to identify deteriorated plants; try to take pictures of the leaf shape, leaf arrangement, roots, and flowers or seed.

Please include a completed copy of this PDF form (230KB) with your aquatic sample submission:

return to contents

 

Legacy Forms

Though we ask that you use one of the submission forms listed in the contents, the old forms are available below.

 

Contact Information

Send all samples to the mailing address below. For further assistance, please contact the Schutter Diagnostic Lab by telephone or email.

We are open for walk-in clients from 9:00AM to 12:00PM, Monday through Friday (COVID-19 restrictions apply). 

Address

Schutter Diagnostic Lab
Montana State University
119 Plant BioScience Bldg
P.O. Box 173150
Bozeman, MT 59717-3150

Phone

(406) 994-5150

Email

diagnostics@montana.edu

Back to Top