Sampling Instructions 

What you will need:
  • Hand trowel
  • Plastic Ziplock bag 
  • Sharpie marker
  • GPS device or smartphone app
  • Rag or paper towel (for cleaning trowel)
  • Permission to collect at your desired location

View this sampling video with Rick

Printable Field Protocol 

1. Go to a forested area where you have permission to collect and look for individuals of species listed on the Forest Fungi Project Tree Species List (see tab in top menu) that contain green leaves. Use a tree identification book or the mentioned tree species list to assist with your ID. 

Not sure about the identification? That's OK! We will be able to identify the tree species from DNA barcodes.

2. Once you have found a tree that you are interested in sampling, label the bag with: 

Your Name 
Collection Date and Location
GPS Coordinates 
Proposed Species ID
Number (if sampling from multiple trees)


3. Dig a hole approximately the length and width of your hand trowel ~3ft from the base of the tree. (For smaller trees, as pictured below, you may wish to sample only ~1ft away.) 

4. Assess your diggings for fine roots and put them in your labeled collection bag along with ~1/4 cup (or a handful) of soil. 

If you do not find many fine roots, you may consider digging another hole for sampling. Just be sure that all collections made for any individual tree are put in the same collection bag. 

5. Wipe the soil off your hand trowel and you are ready to sample another tree! It is that simple. Whether it is two or ten samples, we will gladly receive whatever you are willing to collect. We appreciate your efforts! 

Samples should be stored in the refrigerator and shipped out within 2-3 days following collection.  

Once you have completed sampling, please notify us at

Shipping Information

We don't have a particular preference on how the samples reach us. However, we strive to make things as convenient for you as possible. We have come up with a few options:

1. You are welcome to put the samples in an envelope (or vessel of your choosing) with the appropriate postage and drop them in the mail at your own expense. We thank you for you contribution!

2. We will email you a shipping label that you can print and attach to a 12.5" x 9.5" padded, flat-rate envelope (available at most post offices), so there is no charge to you; all we need is the zipcode from which you will be sending

Pro tip: Check to see if the proper envelope is available at your local post office before collecting samples. This will help you avoid delays!

3.) Sending lots of samples (>25)? Let's discuss ahead of time to find the shipping option that works best! 

Please send all samples to:

Lankau Lab
Forest Fungi Project
1630 Linden Drive 
391 Russell Laboratories
Madison, Wisconsin 53706

Thank you for your dedication to the Forest Fungi Project. We appreciate your and time and efforts - and we look forward to receiving your samples!