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Greenhouse Crops and Floriculture

Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing and Diagnostics

Plant Problem Diagnostics

When growing greenhouse crops, it is important to know what disease you are trying to prevent or control. When diseases are not successfully controlled or become recurring problems, it is often because the cause was not accurately identified. 

The UMass Plant Diagnostic Lab routinely uses microscopic and laboratory identification of fungi, bacteria, viruses and nematodes. Samples can be hand-delivered (if possible) or sent overnight mail, UPS, or Federal Express.
Cost: $50 - $60

UMass Plant Diagnostic Laboratory Vegetable & Floriculture Diagnostics information and form

UMass Plant Diagnostic Laboratory

Fact sheet: Diagnosing Plant Diseases of Floriculture Crops, UMass Extension

Insect and Mite Identification

Systematic Entomology Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland.

USDA provides free identification of insects and mites through the Systematic Entomology Laboratory (SEL) to all US citizens. This could be helpful for a grower who finds insects in their greenhouse that they cannot identify and for retailers helping out their home gardening customers. SEL does not provide extensive biological information or specific pest control information.

Information on submitting samples can be found on their website.

Other Resources for Identification:

UMass Extension and UConn Extension Photo Library for biological control, insect, mites and diseases.

Photos - Scouting Resources from University of Connecticut Extension Greenhouse IPM Program

  • Tips on Scouting Spring Ornamental Crops: Pest and Disease ID
  • Tips on Scouting Vegetable Bedding Plants: Pest and Disease ID
  • Scouting Herb Bedding Plants: Pest and Disease ID
  • Identifying Some Pest and Beneficials on Sticky Cards
  • Tips on Scouting for  Herbaceous Perennial Diseases

Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing

The University of Massachusetts Extension Greenhouse Crops and Floriculture program recognizes the importance of reliable and prompt diagnosis of plant problems in greenhouse production.

A soil test is important for several reasons: To optimize crop production; to protect the environment from contamination by runoff and leaching of excess fertilizers; to aid in the diagnosis of plant culture problems; to improve the nutritional balance of the growing media; and to save money and conserve energy by applying only the amount of fertilizer needed. Pre- plant media analyses provide an indication of potential nutrient deficiencies, pH imbalance or excess soluble salts. This is particularly important for growers who mix their own media. Media testing during the growing season is an important tool for managing crop nutrition and soluble salts levels.

UMass Soil Test Laboratory Submittal Form for Greenhouse Crops

UMass Soil Test Laboratory

Fact sheet: Soil Tests - Sampling and Interpreting Results of Greenhouse Soil Tests