Grow Help Australia service

Grow Help Australia, a service of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), diagnoses plant pests and diseases for commercial horticultural growers and consultants. Accurate pest and disease diagnosis assists growers to manage pests and diseases, and improve their crop productivity and quality.

Grow Help Australia provides tests for:

  • the presence of plant pests and pathogens
  • seeds—limited to fungal pathogens only
  • growing media, soil and water for limited pathogen groups (mainly Phytophthora); however, we also liaise or direct samples to the DAF nematology team, as required
  • plant pathogens to support accreditation schemes and export requirements.

We service the following industries:

  • production nursery
  • fruit and nut industries
  • vegetable
  • cut flower
  • forestry
  • niche and emerging horticultural industries
  • council and wildlife parks where there is evidence of environmental dieback.

Services we do NOT offer

We do not:

  • investigate cases suspected to be exotic plant pests and diseases. For reports of plant pests and diseases suspected to be exotic, phone the Exotic plant pest hotline on 1800 084 881
  • diagnose pests and diseases of cotton, forage and grain crops, pasture, or mushrooms
  • identify plants (e.g. weeds, seeds and plant varieties). For plant identifications the Queensland Herbarium (or your state herbarium) may be able to assist you
  • analyse soil, water and plant nutrients. Private laboratories provide this service
  • complete tests to determine pesticide concentrations in soil, water or plant tissue. Private laboratories provide this service
  • service queries from home gardens. However, home gardeners may benefit from resources to identify plant health problems, particularly if experiencing plant decline or death for unknown reasons
    • home gardeners wanting to identify insects or spiders may access the Queensland Museum's 'Ask An Expert' service
    • home gardeners with ornamental tree, plant, fruit or vegetable issues are recommended to consult professional arborists, retail nurseries or garden services with plant pest and disease experience.

Timelines

We often require 2–3 weeks to complete testing. This timeline can be longer during periods of high sample volume or if your sample requires molecular testing to confirm the identity of the pathogen or pest. We make every effort to complete testing and report results quickly, and provide preliminary results whenever possible. Please contact us if you require an update.

At the end of the testing process, you will receive:

  • a final written report that includes details of the specific tests completed and the results
  • interpretation of results
  • practical advice (wherever possible) on how to remedy any issues identified through the testing undertaken.

If you have any questions about our service, email growhelp@daf.qld.gov.au.

All information is confidential and is not provided to third parties.