The Plant Clinic
Do you have an insect or a plant to identify? Are you wondering how to support pollinators and other wildlife with your plant choices? Would you like to learn more about how to grow vegetables or a lawn area in our unique climate? Idaho Master Gardeners and the Plant Clinic are available to answer your gardening questions.
- You may join us in person each Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at our new location: 958 S. Lochsa St. Suite 316, Post Falls. We have numerous resources and a lab to address your questions.
- You may visit or booth most Saturday’s at the Kootenai County Farmer’s Market at Prairie and I-95 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- You may fill out the form on our website where you may upload photos
- You mail email us and attach photos at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please feel free to reference our Photo Tips for Samples and Specimens
- Please see our guidelines below to virtually submit a question or sample to your Idaho Master Gardeners any day of the week.
- Winter schedule is Oct. 1 to March 31 — Call 208-292-1377 or email email@example.com
Sample Submission Guidelines
In order for us to ensure accuracy and expediency, please follow these guidelines closely. If you have Plant Clinic questions beyond what our forms have to offer, please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Tips for Samples and Specimens
- Place the insect specimen or plant sample onto a background that will make all the features apparent in contrast. For example, use a light background for dark insects or dark background for white flowers.
- Place a standard U.S. penny or dime next to the specimen/sample to indicate size.
- If the specimen/sample is very small (the size of a pin head or smaller), you may need to use a hand magnifying lens to get a clear picture.
- Take multiple photos to ensure good shots from a variety of angles. Be sure to include all parts, as specified in the submission guidelines on this page.
Plant, Tree, Shrub and Turf Problems
Please fill out our Plant Problem Form to the best of your ability. Include images of the plant according to the following specifications and taken according to the photo guidelines stated above. Your information will then be submitted to our volunteer Idaho Master Gardeners. During peak Plant Clinic months, expect a response within approximately two weeks.
- Plants: Show problem, stem, leaves, flower and fruit. If needed, show roots.
- Trees/Shrubs: Show the progression of the problem, branches and leaves/needles. Make sure photos are particularly clear if the problem is on the trunk.
- Turf: Show at least 12 inches-square section of the problem area that includes healthy and unhealthy conditions.
Weed and Plant Identification
Please fill out our Weed and Plant ID Form to the best of your ability. Include images of the plant according to the following specifications and taken according to the photo guidelines stated above. Your information will then be submitted to our volunteer Idaho Master Gardeners. During peak Plant Clinic months, expect a response within approximately two weeks.
Please fill out our Insect Problem Form to the best of your ability. Include images of the plant according to the following specifications and taken according to the photo guidelines stated above. Your information will then be submitted to our volunteer Idaho Master Gardeners. During peak Plant Clinic months, expect a response within approximately two weeks.
You can also go to the U of I Insect Identification Request page and submit your information directly to the campus university lab.
Soil Sample Testing
The U of I Analytical Sciences Laboratory (ASL) provides comprehensive analytical services in the area of soil analyses, including fertility testing and environmental analyses. Follow these steps to gather your sample and submit it for testing.
Collecting Your Sample (Reference: A Guide to Collecting Soil Samples for Farms and Gardens)
- Use a 5-gallon bucket and collect from about 12 sites in your garden area (1 bag of just over a pint should ideally be used for around a 20x20 feet area or one raised bed). These 12 sites will give you an average reading of the total soil in that space.
- Dig down at varied depths for each of the 12 collection sites (2 to 13 inches depth) and place a scoop of soil into the bucket from each site.
- Mix the soil until combined. If needed, dry it on cookie sheets in a dry space out of the sun.
- Place a little more than one pint of soil in a plastic bag and seal it.
- Label the bag with the collection date, your name and the name of the area from which you gathered (Sample Identification). Label additional bag differently if you send in multiple collections. For example: west side of garden and east side of garden.
- Go to Analytical Sciences Laboratory soil services page:
- Access the Soil analysis price list.
- Download and print the Sample submission form. Testing fees start at $45/bag for the Standard Fertility Test, which includes results for N-P-K, organic Matter % and pH.
- One bag should ideally be used for around a 20x20 feet area or one raised bed.
- Send your Sample Submission Form, your check and the bag of soil (suggested FedEx or UPS) to:
Analytical Sciences Laboratory
University of Idaho
Holm Research Center
2222 W 6th Street
Moscow, ID 83844-2203
- Results will be returned to you and our Idaho Master Gardener coordinator, who will contact you to interpret the results and make recommendations.
Our office is staffed by certified volunteers. Please know that an Idaho Master Gardener will contact you as soon as possible. During COVID-19, our Plant Clinic will be accessible only online, by email and by calling 208-292-1377 and leaving a detailed message that includes your email address. Older adults are both a vulnerable population and an abundant group in our program and at many events in which we participate. We also have many volunteers who are considered at risk in other vulnerable populations. We appreciate your understanding and support.
The quickest way to get you your answers is to submit an electronic form, as listed above, or to email us at email@example.com. You may also call 208-292-1377 and leave a message with your phone number and email address, which we will transcribe into a form for you. Your form will be reviewed by our volunteers on our regular Plant Clinic days: Tuesday and Thursday.
No walk-in days are available during the off-season. However, we are available by phone voicemail at 208-292-1377 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please leave a detailed message that includes your email and phone number.