Getting Started

AZPDN community liaisons check for winter annual weeds in spinachThe AZPDN is a network of plant specialists that can help you diagnose health-related issues with your plants; ranging from home ornamentals and garden vegetables to comercial produce and agricultrual commodites.

If you detect a problem with your plant or see unhealthy symptoms, here are some helpful steps to locate an AZPDN expert and get advice to identify the pest or pathogen infecting your plant.

  1. Identify a problem
  2. Take a digital photo
  3. Find an AZPDN Community Liaison or Diganostician through this website
  4. Submit a sample via email, an online web form (registration required), or through the post mail.
  5. Submission instructions vary for each lab and can be found on the Diagnosticians webpage.
  6. If possible, include a GPS location or a street address nearest  to the infected plant.

Samples submitted online can reduce the turn-around time to a sucessful diagnosis. Often, our diagnosticians can identify issues with a simple digital photo, taken from a camera or cell phone. If the photo is inconclusive, the diagnostician will ask you to clip a leaf sample and mail it to the laboratory. Once the lab has processed your sample, you will be notified via email or phone with the diagonosis.

The symptoms of an unhealthy plant can be caused by either abiotic facotrs (non-living, such as drought, temperature, over-watering etc) or biotic factors (bacteria, virus, parasite, etc). A list of the most serious biotic pests and pathogens can be found on our Alerts portion of our website. This list is maintained by the State (Arizona Department of Agriculture) and Federal (USDA) regulatory agents. Their goal is to prevent the introduction and/or spread of these pests/pathogens in our State.

 The University of Arizona diagnosticians and Extension agents and State/Federal regulatory agents rely on the community to report any suspicious pests or pathogens found on the regulatory alerts. These community members are trained as AZPDN "First Detectors". Anyone can become a First Detector and only requires a 2-hour training seminar, led by one of our AZPDN experts. You can view upcoming training seminars on our Events page.