By Elizabeth Records, Master Gardener Program Assistant
Previously published in Growing.
It’s gardening season! Whether you’re a longtime gardener or are new to growing things, OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteers are here to help you grow your best garden yet and deal with garden challenges.
Master Gardeners are volunteers who complete a specialized training program and work as a team to help find solutions to garden problems for people in our community. We are from all walks of life and have widely varied gardening interests and experiences. Together we bring lifetimes of collective garden knowledge to solving plant problems with research-based information. Here are some scenarios where Master Gardener volunteers can help:
You are digging in the garden and find an unfamiliar plant that you did not put there. Will it produce lovely flowers or tasty food? Or will it prove to be an invasive weed that takes over your garden? Master Gardener volunteers can help you find out. Bring a sample of your plant including a full branch or stem with any leaves, flowers and fruits that may be present.
You find a mystery insect in the garden and wonder if it is going to harm your plants or be a helpful pollinator or a useful predator of insect pests. A dozen insects appear in your garage, and you don’t know if they are a simple nuisance or are likely to feed on you, your pets or your home. Master Gardeners can help identify insects and suggest how to manage them! Bring the insect in a sealed jar, or a high resolution photo of the insect on a pale colored background, next to a ruler or coin so we can tell the size.
Just starting your first veggie garden and wondering when to plant, or what varieties do well in your location? Want to make your garden more sustainable by using less water, attracting more pollinators or using fewer chemicals? Short on space but excited to grow fresh herbs or salads on your windowsill? Whatever your gardening goals, Master Gardeners can help you find research-based information to get the most from your garden.
Diagnosis and recommendations
Your previously healthy plant suddenly wilts. Brown spots appear in your grass. A tree that produced lots of fruit in the past stops setting fruit. Master Gardener volunteers can help figure out what is going on and decide what to do next for best results. Bring samples and/or photos that show the problem and also the surrounding area.
Get the most out of plant clinic
- Be ready to answer questions that will help Master Gardeners hone in on the source of your problem so we can provide the best advice possible. Master Gardeners might ask, “how long has this problem been going on?” and “Are all of the similar plants affected, or just one?” “What treatments have already been attempted to remedy this situation?”
- Bring good samples – you can always call us for suggestions to bring the most helpful samples.
- Master Gardeners cannot answer questions about State or Federally controlled plants, identify mushrooms, or offer medical advice. We are pleased to assist with all your other garden questions to the best of our ability.
- Sometimes we may need input from other team members or horticulture faculty to resolve your question. Be ready to share an email or phone number if we need to do some extra research and follow up.
- Have fun and enjoy your garden, even when things don’t go as you expected!
Plant Clinics near you!
Find us at your local office most weekdays from 9-12 and 1-4. Email or leave a phone message anytime.
- 4077 SW Research Way, Corvallis, OR97333
- Call with your question: (541) 766-6750
- Email your question and any photos to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- 33630 McFarland Road, Tangent, OR97389
- Call with your question: 541-967-3871
- Email your question & any photos to: email@example.com
- Find a Pop Up Plant Clinic at a garden center, farmers market, or community event near you. See our calendar for locations and schedule: https://extension.oregonstate.edu/mg/benton/take-gardening-class
- Find us on Ask an Expert: https://ask.extension.org/ Ask a question anytime, from anywhere with internet access.