Master Gardener Help Desk at Travis County AgriLife Extension
Travis County Master Gardener volunteers provide free, year-long gardening advice to homeowners. They will help you sort through all of your plant questions and issues; provide up-to-date, research-based advice from Extension; and offer you free, relevant publications. Master Gardeners use a variety of resources including Extension publications, information from the Texas A&M Horticulture website, a Texas-focused reference library, and updates from Extension agents.
Call first, then visit the Extension office at 1600-B Smith Rd., Austin, TX 78721.
If you cannot bring us a sample, you can send us digital images to our email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Take close-up photos and also photos of the whole plant, and please make sure they are in focus.
Bring samples in closed plastic bags that have your name and phone number written on them.
- Lawn samples: Cut a 4” X 4” square from your lawn at the edge between the healthy green and the brown or affected area, including the roots and soil, and put it immediately in a closeable plastic bag to keep any insects in the sample and to keep the sample fresh. The blades should still be attached to the runners and make sure the sample grass is not completely dead.
- Leaf samples: Cut off a short piece of a branch that has both healthy and affected parts, and put it into a closed plastic bag to keep the leaves from drying out. Keep the leaves on the branch if possible. Bring leaves that are in the process of being affected, rather than leaves that are completely brown and dead. Take note of what parts of the plant are being affected, whether lower or upper branches, tips of branches or areas nearest the stem, new growth or old growth, one side of the plant or randomly all over the plant.
- Weed samples: Weeds are difficult to identify unless they are flowering, so it is best to pull a sample up when it has a flower head or seeds on it. Seed samples: Put samples of seeds, including pecans, in closed plastic bags to keep in any insects and to keep the sample fresh. Include more than one seed if possible.