The Plant Disease Clinic is a service laboratory situated within the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Stellenbosch. The clinic started its activities in October 2000, and specialists in the field of plant pathology, diagnose problems on the samples received. We diagnose all types of fungal or bacterial diseases on various crops, including trees, shrubs, vegetables, fruit, ornamentals, etc. Virus diseases and insect identifications are also managed by consultants from Vironostix and the Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology. Leaf and soil samples for nutritional shortages and nematode analysis can, on request, be sent to experts in that particular field. Diagnosis can take between one and 2 weeks to be completed, although new diseases require additional pathogenicity tests, which will take much longer. Each sample submitted will receive a written diagnostic report, explaining the findings, and listing any available control recommendations.
When sending a sample to the Plant Disease Clinic, please include the relevant Diagnostic Form. Follow our collection and submission tips when submitting samples. Samples that are improperly collected, packed, and/or shipped and are received in a poor condition are very difficult to diagnose.
We aim to provide fast, but accurate diagnoses and always seek new methods for minimising diagnoses time. The digital camera, used conventionally or through microscope lenses, has become a useful diagnostic aid. It enables us to forward digital images of pathogen structures to international experts for verification. Experience gained through work done for the private sector is shared with producers. We also provide valuable practical training for under- and postgraduate students.