Follow these steps to ensure samples are taken correctly, and to receive accurate results.

1.Select the sampling area: Identify the specific area of your field, garden, or landscape where you suspect the presence of plant-parasitic nematodes. Consider areas with symptoms such as stunted growth, yellowing leaves, or other signs of plant distress.

2.Prepare the tools: Gather the necessary tools for sampling, including a soil probe, shovel, or trowel. You'll also need clean plastic bags, and a way to label samples for identification.

3.Determine the sampling pattern: Choose a systematic sampling pattern to ensure representative results. For larger areas, a zigzag or W-shaped pattern can be effective. For smaller areas, a random sampling approach may be suitable. Avoid sampling along field edges or other areas that may differ in management or soil conditions. See photos below for examples.

4.Sample collection for soil: Start by removing any surface debris, such as rocks or plant residues, from the sampling area. Using the soil probe, shovel, or other appropriate tool, collect soil cores or samples from the desired depth. Nematodes effect the roots of the plant, so aim for a depth at, or about root level (usually 6 to 12 inches) at regular intervals along the designated pattern. Take care to avoid cross-contamination between sampling locations.

5.Sample collection for roots: If you suspect nematode infestation in plant roots, carefully dig up plants from the designated sampling areas, making sure to include the entire root system. Gently shake off excess soil to expose the roots, and place the entire root system into a clean bucket or bag. For smaller plants, you may need to collect several samples to ensure representative results.

6.Label and store the samples: Clearly label each sample with a unique identifier, such as a number or location name. This step is crucial for accurate identification and interpretation of results. Place the soil or root samples in separate labeled plastic bags, ensuring there is no mixing between samples.

7.Document relevant information: Record essential information about the sampling location, including crop or plant type, planting date, previous crop history, and any observable symptoms or pest issues. This information will provide context when interpreting the results.

8.Deliver samples promptly: Send all samples to Virginia Nematology at 7282 Colonial Trail East Surry, Va 23883. Quick delivery is crucial to ensure the samples are analyzed while still viable and to receive timely results.

Remember, sampling methods may vary depending on the specific crop, nematode species of concern, or regional recommendations. It's always recommended to consult with local agricultural extension services or nematology experts for guidance on the most suitable sampling techniques for your specific situation.

By following these steps, you can collect representative samples that will help nematology experts identify and quantify plant-parasitic nematodes accurately.