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Free soilborne disease sampling for high tunnels

Have you struggled with soilborne diseases in your high tunnel? Our colleagues in Ohio are offering free soilborne disease testing to high tunnel vegetable growers in the Midwest. This is a collaborative project between USDA-ARS, Ohio State, Penn State and Virginia Tech funded by a grant from NIFA-CPPM.

Some examples of common soilborne pathogens in tunnels in MN include: white mold (can affect lettuce, tomatoes, and a wide range of other vegetables), Pythium and Rhizoctonia root rot of various vegetables, and Fusarium and Verticillium wilt in tomatoes. Sometimes these diseases are hard to distinguish from one another, so if you've never tested diseased plants in your soil, assessing which pathogens are in your soil can help you make decisions about resistant varieties and preventative management.

Verticillium wilt in tomato. Gerald Holmes, Strawberry Center, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo,

If you would like to submit a sample for analysis, reach out to Natalie Hoidal at, and she will send you the form to print along with your sample. The basic collection instructions are listed below:

Collect soil from at least 10 locations at a depth of 6 inches in your high tunnel. Use a W-sampling pattern (see below) and sample within plant rows. Mix the collected samples in a large bucket to make one representative sample. You will need approximately 1⁄2 gallon of soil in the final sample.

Sampling pattern

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