Pest problems? There's an app for that

Published online: Sep 04, 2013
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Farmers and ag specialists needing to identify plants, plant diseases, insect pests and other plant problems have a new mobile application resource created by eight university labs, including Purdue's Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory.

The Plant Diagnostic Sample Submission app includes submission forms with customized questions about agronomic crops, weeds, vegetables, houseplants and more. It was developed by IN3, located in the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette.

"The app is for anyone who wants to send a sample, said Tom Creswell, PPDL director. "It guides users through the right questions for their submissions."

It allows users to take and send digital photos and plant-problem descriptions to any of the eight participating labs. The university diagnostic labs involved are Alabama Cooperative Extension, University of Connecticut, University of Illinois Extension, University of Kentucky, Michigan State University, University of New Hampshire and Ohio State University.

When submitting samples, users answer questions about the specific types of plant problems they need to identify, such as farm, household or lawn.

Submissions are sent to the labs using the iPhone or iPad built-in mail app, which requires an email account on the device.

Each participating diagnostic lab has specific fee policies, so users should check with their preferred lab for details.

Purdue University's PPDL, for example, will charge normal sample-handling fees for samples submitted through the app. Those fees are $11 for Indiana samples and $22 for out-of-state submissions. However, if a physical sample is needed as a follow-up, there is no additional fee.

The PPDL accepts submissions from the 48 contiguous states. International submissions are not accepted. Right now Kentucky and New Hampshire laboratories will only accept samples via the app from Extension educators and specialists who have a proper passcode.

The app is available for free download in the iTunes store. For more information, visit