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Sampling and Testing for Little Cherry Virus

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Written by Scott Harper, Director, Clean Plant Center Northwest, WSU. June 15, 2018

If you are intending to conduct molecular testing for Little cherry virus, the type of tissue you would need to submit changes depending on the time of year – because the virus moves as the plant grows and develops.

If you are observing what looks like little cherry disease symptoms on the tree, or limbs of a tree, and want to confirm what you are seeing:  submit four to six-inch cuttings from the diseased limb, including leaves and if possible, fruit and/or the peduncle (fruit stem).

If you do not have little cherry disease symptoms on a tree, it becomes a little bit more difficult. Take a total of 4-5 samples from around the tree, from the following tissues, depending on the time of year:

  • Dormant/delayed dormancy: Dormant wood (4-6 inch cuttings);
  • Bloom: New wood, flower buds, emerging leaves, flower stems;
  • Pre-harvest: Fruit stems and/or fully expanded leaves (4-5 leaves each) (including the petiole);
  • Early Postharvest: Fully expanded leaves (4-5 leaves each);
  • Pre-dormancy: Fully expanded leaves (before leaf drop) (4-5 leaves each).

All samples should be collected and placed in a Ziploc bag and kept in a cooler or refrigerator until you can send them to a lab. If mailing or couriering plant samples, please place a cooler pack in with the samples to keep them in good condition.

Send samples to:

Clean Plant Center Northwest/Hamilton Hall
Attn.: Tina Vasile
Prosser Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center
24106 N Bunn Rd. Prosser WA 99350

The contact for the lab is Tina Vasile (509) 786-9382 Drop the samples off at Prosser or send them overnight mail in a Styrofoam shipping container with an icepack. Be sure to include your name and contact information with the package. Avoid sending samples on Thursday or Friday.

Check with the lab for details on current fees.


Scott Harper
Director, Clean Plant Center Northwest
Assistant Professor, Plant Pathology

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