Specific primers and the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) are increasingly used for detection of fungi in plants. Detection depends on isolation of DNA that is free of compounds that inhibit amplification. We report on the significance of inhibition in soybean stems with a focus on studies of the vascular fungal pathogen Phialophora gregata. A simple DNA extraction procedure based on a FastDNA® kit is described that allows consistent detection of fungi in soybean stems using PCR. The addition of polyvinylpyrrolidone and supplemental DNA purification steps overcame inhibition in over 90% of samples. These methods should also facilitate studies with other plant and fungal species.