Taking Lab Photos

During the closure of the CCE office, the Horticultural Lab is still available remotely to address your horticultural needs and may be able to address some diagnostic issues with plant diseases and insect identification. Mike Wilson is able to address any gardening questions and is capable of sending out information, including all of our Rockland CCE fact sheets. Fortunately, he also has an extensive horticultural library at home and may be able to address issues that are not covered by our fact sheets. So, if you have a question for Mike, feel free to email him. Mike’s email address is mw767@cornell.edu.

If you have a disease or insect problem that you would like diagnosed by email, here is how to do it. Sending several pictures will aid in identifying your problem. When taking pictures, make sure they are clear and in focus. If the specimen is an insect, one picture with a ruler present next to the insect will help in identification because size can be important in determining the life cycle stage of the insect or for final identification. Take several pictures from different angles. If the problem is a plant or tree disease, take several pictures showing the diseased area but also include some pictures of the entire plant. It may also be helpful to take pictures of the garden bed or site where the plant is growing. Often in the lab, we find that the growing conditions are a part of the problem and those pictures are helpful in determining how to address your issue for the long term.

The best way to contact Mike Wilson with lab questions is via email. If you are unable to do so, you can leave a message on his voice mail by calling 845-429-7085 ext.110. Please remember that we are at remote locations and email may get a quicker response.

Cell Phone Photography Tips:

  • Clean your lens with a soft cloth before taking a picture
  • Use your cell phone camera app’s auto-focus feature (if it has one)
  • Try to get the subject in the center of the frame and make sure the camera focuses on it
  • Avoid using your flash, instead try to illuminate the space with other lighting not directly pointed at the subject

These are some pictures as a sample to what the Lab needs to determine diagnostic issues:

Close up on insect infestation

insect burrow holes in bark

insect burrow paths in tree


Michael Wilson
Horticulture Lab Technician
(845) 429-7085, option 3

Last updated April 1, 2020