Residential Horticulture

Master Gardener Volunteer - Help Desk

master gardener

A UF/IFAS trained Master Gardener Volunteer is on duty most weekdays to answer your gardening or landscape questions.  We can identify the mystery plant, bug, weed or disease in your garden.

Help Desk hours are:  Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to Noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Phone: 407-665-5550,  Email:

Soil Samples

Most soil testing for landscape and vegetable gardens can be accomplished with a simple soil pH test. A pH determination can be done in our lab for $2.00 per sample.

How to Take a Good Sample

 • Take small, equal, samples of soil from 5-10 different sections of your property, mix together then scoop out a cup sample.

• Samples should be taken from a depth of 2 - 4" for turf areas , 2 - 6" for vegetable gardens and flower beds.

• Sample should be dry and clean of debris.

• Place the sample (at least 8 ounces) in a sealable plastic bag or other sealed container.

The soil needs to be completely dry for testing; if the soil is wet or damp, it will need to be air dried before testing.

Samples may be brought in Monday - Friday 8am - 5pm. Testing is conducted Thursdays 9-12 a.m. You will be called with results within one week.

A complete soil fertility test to determine amounts of nutrients in the soil can be performed only by the UF/IFAS Extension Soil Testing Laboratory, Wallace Bldg., UF, Gainesville, 32611. Cost of this test is $7.00.  UF/IFAS Extension Soil Testing Laboratory Information

Plant Samples

  • Bring in a branch with leaves and flowers (if possible) for plant identification or diagnosis of the problem. Plants are more readily identified by their flowers, leaves or berries.
  • Use a plastic bag to maintain the moisture of the tissues. Do not add water or a wet paper towel.
  • Bring the sample the day you collect it or keep it refrigerated until you can bring it.

Insect Samples

  • Collect more than one specimen if possible.
  • Bring the insect in a plastic or glass container, they can be dead or alive.
  • Insects may be killed and preserved in alcohol. Very small insects may be collected with a gummed tape.

Turf Samples

  • Dig a square foot 2-3 inch deep block in your lawn showing normal and affected grass.
  • Use a plastic or paper bar, shoe box, or any suitable container to bring the sample to our office.
  • The fresher the material is, the easier it is to diagnose the problem. Do not bring dead grass.

A hard copy of the factsheets related to the plant, pest or problem can be obtained at our office, or e-mailed to you upon request.

Solutions For Your Life!