The Plant Clinic
UI Extension is working to keep our communities safe. All Extension programming for the Idaho Master Gardener Program in Kootenai County is being provided virtually, postponed or canceled. Therefore, our Extension office in Kootenai County is currently closed to walk-in clients at our Plant Clinic until at least May 30, 2020.* However, our Virtual Plant Clinic is available by email, phone and web conference, if necessary.
- Please see our guidelines below to virtually submit a question or sample to your Idaho Master Gardeners any day of the week.
- When your inquiry accompanies the required, completed form below, volunteers will be available to respond by email twice per week during our virtual Plant Clinic Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, April – Sept, 2020.
*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.
Summer Hours — Online
During COVID-19: The Kootenai County office of UI Extension is closed for walk-in clients to our plant clinic until at least May 30, 2020. Our Virtual Plant Clinic will only be available via email, phone and web conference, if necessary. Submissions should be sent by email per the guidelines laid out on this page, or you can call 208-292-1377 and leave a detailed message with your email address. Our volunteers will respond by email to submissions on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- Oct. 1 thru March 31
208-292-1377or email email@example.com
Sample Submission Guidelines
In order for us to ensure accuracy and expediency, please follow these guidelines closely. All submissions for our virtual Plant Clinic should be emailed to 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
Download, save, open, fill out and save again the Plant/Tree/Shrub/Turf Problem Form (PDF) to the best of your ability. Then submit the form to the Plant Clinic by email as an attachment. Include images of the plant according to the following specifications and taken according to the photo guidelines stated in the sidebar. Images can either be attached to the email or inserted into the assigned box on page 2 of the form.
- 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"-square section of the problem area that includes healthy and unhealthy conditions.
Weed and Plant Identification
Download, save, open, fill out and save again the Weed and Plant Identification Form (PDF) to the best of your ability. Then submit the form to the Plant Clinic by email as an attachment. Include images of the plant taken according to the photo guidelines stated in the sidebar that include flower, stem, branches, leaves and roots. Images can be attached to the email.
Download, save, open, fill out and save again the Insect Identification Form (PDF) to the best of your ability. Then submit the form to the Plant Clinic by email as an attachment. Avoid crushing the insects. Include images of the insect taken according to the photo guidelines stated in the sidebar that include multiple angles of the feet, wings, antennae or other body segments. Images can be attached to the email.
You can also go to the U of I Insect Identification Request page and submit your information to the 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 20’ x 20’ 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” 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 ASL's Services page:
- Send your Sample Submission Form, your check and the bag of soil (suggested FedEx or UPS) to:
- Results will be returned to you and our Idaho Master Gardener Coordinator, who will contact you to interpret the results and make recommendations.
Other Problems or Information
For all other questions or additional information not specified in the categories above, download, save, open, fill out and save again the Information Request Form (PDF) to the best of your ability. Then submit the form to the Plant Clinic by email as an attachment.
Contacting the Plant Clinic
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, by email at email@example.com. You may also call (208-292-1377) and leave a message with your email address, which we will transcribe into a form for you. Your form will be sent to our volunteers on our regular Plant Clinic days: Tuesday and Thursday. Our volunteers will then respond with answers by email. We do not currently have the ability to return calls with our personal cell phones.
No walk-in days are available during the off-season. However, we are available by phone voicemail at