2 min read
Marla Faver working with a microscope at the Gulf Shores Diagnostic Lab.
Marla Faver, Regional Extension Agent, inspects plants at the Gulf Shores Diagnostic Lab.

Marla Faver, Regional Extension Agent, inspects plants at the Gulf Shores Diagnostic Lab.

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala.—The new Auburn Plant Diagnostic Lab in Gulf Shores is offering services to Alabama residents and those in surrounding areas. Diagnostics include plant pest identification services, management advice and education for all agricultural crops, landscapes, home grounds and public gardens. The lab is dedicated to accurately identifying plant pests and providing science-based options for management strategies resulting in minimizing pesticide applications. The lab is actively involved in detecting new and invasive pests that pose significant limitations to agricultural production in Alabama and the United States. Specific services offered include plant disease diagnosis, insect identification and plant/weed identification.


The Plant Diagnostic Lab in Gulf Shores provides two major services:

  1. Plant samples are examined for disease, insect, nutrient, cultural, and herbicide problems.
  2. Insect samples are identified.

*Please note that soil mineral analysis is performed at the Soil Testing Lab which is separate from the Plant Diagnostic Lab. The Soil Testing Lab can be reached at (334) 844-3958

*Nematode samples are evaluated at the Plant Diagnostic Lab on the Auburn Campus. Contact Kristie Siggers at (334)844-5506


The accuracy of the diagnosis depends on the following:

  • The size and condition of the plant specimen. When Rotten, dry, dead, or incomplete samples are sent with inadequate information, diagnoses, analyses and recommendations cannot be made.
  • The amount of information provided with the plant or soil sample. It is necessary to include information on the development of the problem, previous preventative or curative treatments, planting size and type (homeowner, production agriculture, etc.).
New equipment at the Gulf Shores Diagnostic Lab. (photo by Marla Faver)

New equipment at the Gulf Shores Diagnostic Lab. (photo by Marla Faver)

Submit Samples

Samples received at the Plant Diagnostic Lab may be examined by plant pathologists, nematologists, entomologists, agronomists, horticulturists or weed scientists—depending upon the sample.

Responses including the diagnosis or identification and control recommendation(s) are provided after samples are examined, tested, analyzed, and/or identified. Results are sent by phone, e-mail, fax or letter. Generally, responses are made within one week of sample receipt. Fungal or bacterial identification in culture requires one to several weeks. Before sending samples to the lab, consult your county Extension office or the Plant Diagnostics Lab for more information on the lab and collecting, packaging and mailing plant, soil, and insect samples. Forms are available via county offices, or by contacting Marla Faver.

Sample Service Charges

  • For Plant Problem and Disease Diagnosis: $10 – $30, depending upon tests/analyses required.
    • Homeowner sample charges are usually $10 – $15
    • Commercial sample charges are usually $20 – $25
    • Molecular analysis (with client consultation) $30
  • For Insect Identification: $5 – $20, depending on work done
    • Routine identification $5
    • Microscopic study $10
    • Commercial/Industrial samples $20


Please contact Marla Faver with questions or for additional information at (251) 620-7139.

Gulf Shores Plant Diagnostics Lab
21541 County Road 8
Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Did you find this helpful?