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Submitting samples for testing

COVID-19 and Grow Help Australia service update

We anticipate that Grow Help will remain open indefinitely. However, there may be delays in testing and completing reports. We will do everything we can to get results to you promptly.

Email for further information.

The following 4 sections explain the process you need to follow to submit your samples for testing, including:

  • guidelines to help you package your specimens
  • how to complete our online submission form with the details about your samples
  • options for sending your sample to Grow Help Australia, including our mailing and delivery addresses
  • our expected response times.

1. Packaging your specimens

Use these guidelines to ensure your specimens arrive safely. If you are still unsure about how to collect and send specimens, phone our Customer Service Centre on 13 25 23 or email before packaging your samples.

  • Read the instructions for selecting samples for testing.
  • Choose packaging that will not compress or otherwise damage your sample. This is particularly important if submitting fruit.
  • Make sure the plant material will stay dry (the root ball can be moist). Add newspaper or paper towel as necessary, particularly if you include an ice pack. Bag the root ball.
  • Protect your samples from degrading and from extremes of temperature.
  • Complete a sample submission form and include at least the first page with the actual sample. Samples without a completed form may be delayed.
  • Do not send large glass containers (small tissue culture tubes are acceptable).
  • Address your sample correctly. Using an incorrect address will significantly delay your sample. Read our section below on options for sending your sample.

2. Completing a submission form for your samples

Include at least the first page of the completed sample submission form with all specimens submitted to Grow Help Australia for testing so that the actual sample can be easily matched to the online submission.

When you click 'submit' after completing the online form, you will immediately receive an email (and we will also). If you don't receive the email, the form has not been submitted successfully and was incomplete. Ensure you complete all the required fields, including information on:

  • symptoms
  • plant type
  • history of the problem
  • extent and importance of the problem
  • environmental conditions
  • sprays or fertilisers recently applied
  • harvest times and post-harvest conditions, where relevant.

Submitting multiple samples simultaneously

You may send multiple samples in the same package. This may occur if you have multiple plant health problems at the same time or you want plants tested from more than 1 block. Ensure that each sample is clearly labelled so we can easily see the difference. Where symptoms or crop history differ, provide separate submission forms for each sample. Where samples effectively have the same history and details, but need to be tested separately, multiple forms are not required.

If you are unsure about how to label and submit multiple samples, phone our Customer Service Centre on 13 25 23 or email for advice.

3. Delivering the samples to Grow Help Australia

Grow Help Australia receives and tests samples from all over Australia. You are responsible for meeting any quarantine laws before sending the sample. Ensure you include 'Attn: Grow Help Australia' on all packages.

Sending via courier (preferred method)

The courier address is:

Attn: Grow Help Australia
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF)
Ecosciences Precinct
Loading Dock, Basement 3
Joe Baker Street

Sending using Express post via Australia Post

Australia Post Express post does not guarantee overnight delivery to our address; delivery can sometimes take 2 days even if you use an overnight express method. We recommend using a courier or delivering the specimen personally.

Also, Australia Post only delivers to our PO Box (below), not the street address.

Attn: Grow Help Australia
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Ecosciences Precinct
GPO Box 267

Delivering in person

You can drop off samples to the loading dock on Joe Baker St between 7am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.

  1. Drive up Boggo Road and turn right at the roundabout (there's only one way to go).
  2. Drive down to the bottom of the hill on Joe Baker Street (there are no street numbers) to the B3 loading dock sign.
  3. The loading dock has a roller door with a buzzer to hand over samples.
  4. Ring the buzzer for help if there is no one present when you arrive.
  5. Label your personally delivered sample as:

Attn: Grow Help Australia
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Ecosciences Precinct
Loading Dock, Basement 3
Joe Baker Street

4.  Our response times

Once we have received your sample, we will contact you by either phone or email to acknowledge its receipt.

We try to complete each job within 2 weeks, but sometimes this may not be possible. We will contact you if it will take longer to complete a diagnosis. We will also provide preliminary results when they become available.