Hemp Disease and Nematode Assays
UMass Extension Diagnostic Lab Accepting Hemp Samples from Licensed Growers
The UMass Extension Diagnostic Lab is now accepting hemp samples for analysis and evaluation of insect and disease problems.
Samples will be accepted only from licensed hemp growers in Massachusetts. Submission of a copy of the grower’s license is required. For information on collecting, packaging, and shipping hemp samples to the lab, please see the Guidelines for Submittting Hemp Specimens below, or call Dr. Angela Madeiras at 413-545-3209.
Nematode Assays for Hemp Growers
Samples must be accompanied by a complete submission form (link above) and a clear photocopy of a valid Massachusetts hemp grower’s license. Samples arriving without both of these items will not be accepted under any circumstances.
If root galls are present, the roots may be submitted for analysis. Soil samples can be examined for root knot juveniles and other species of plant pathogenic nematodes. Nematode populations are estimated most accurately with a composite sample. Use a 3/4 to 1 inch diameter soil probe, or something similar, and sample to a depth of approximately four inches throughout the site. This depth is a compromise but represents the population distribution of different species fairly well. If a crop is present in the area of concern, submit a root sample along with the soil sample. Place roots and soil in the same bag.
When plant damage is evident: Collect 15 to 20 subsamples from throughout the affected area and bulk them. For comparison, a composite sample may also be taken from an adjacent, healthy appearing area.
When no damage is evident: An area can be sampled by collecting 30 or 40 samples and combining them as one. Keep notes about where you sampled so you can return at a later date and sample the same general area.
Packaging the sample: The soil (at least 1/2 pint) should be placed in a sealable plastic bag to prevent desiccation. Do NOT add water. If submitting more than one sample, clearly mark the sample number on the outside of the bag with a permanent marker. Paper tags placed in contact with the soil deteriorate quickly. After collection, refrigerate or ship immediately.
Guidelines for Sending Hemp Plant Specimens
- Samples must be accompanied by a complete submission form (link above) and a clear photocopy of a valid Massachusetts hemp grower’s license. Samples arriving without both of these items will not be accepted under any circumstances.
- Please do not send dead plants: dead or dried out material is insufficient for diagnosis.
- If plants are less than 2 feet in height, submit 2-3 whole plants demonstrating the range of typical symptoms. The root ball of each plant should be wrapped securely to prevent soil from contaminating the aerial parts of the plant.
- If plants are over 2 feet in height, please do not submit whole plants. Submit roots and crowns from 1-2 affected plants. In addition, send 3-4 branches displaying a range of typical symptoms. Include branches that show the area of transition between healthy and unhealthy tissue. If the main stem of the plant is affected, please include several short (a few inches) pieces.
- Plant material should be packaged securely in order to contain any odor. Packing suggestions include vacuum packaging, airtight sealed plastic containers such as Tupperware, glass jars, or 4-5 layers of ziplock freezer bags. Do not include materials such as coffee grounds or dryer sheets in order to suppress odors. Please do not add water or damp paper towels.
- If you wish to submit a soil sample for pH and EC analysis, please include approximately one cup of potting medium or soil in a separate Ziplock bag.
- Diagnoses cannot be made from photographs alone; however, photos are often helpful to the diagnostic process and may be submitted along with the sample or e-mailed to email@example.com.
- If you have had the crop tested for THC and the level was 0.3% or less, please include a copy of this information.
- Samples may be hand-delivered to the lab or sent via US Mail. The US Postal Service is the only carrier authorized to transport hemp. If hand delivering, please call the lab at 413-545-3209 to be sure someone will be present to receive the sample. Our business hours are 8:30am to 4pm Monday through Friday, but these are subject to change.
- The USPS requires that you keep copies of these documents for at least two years, so be sure to photocopy all of them before sealing the package for shipping. The documents are not required at time of shipping, but they can be requested at any time, so you may want to have them with you when you go to the post office. For more information on packing and shipping hemp, please see: https://newcropsorganics.ces.ncsu.edu/2019/12/how-and-how-not-to-ship-hemp/•
Diagnostic Fees (payment payable to University of Massachusetts):
- Hemp crop disease or nematode analysis - $50
- Hemp crop disease analysis plus pH and soluble salts test - $60 (please include approximately 1 cup of potting medium)
Choose the approriate catalog items that include "hemp" in the product name. Enclose a copy of your credit card sales confirmation with the sample.