Do You Have a Gardening Question?

Master Gardener Volunteers and Plant Health Advisors will answer garden related questions from the general public this upcoming growing season.

Garden related diagnostic services

UW-Extension Rock County offers research-based information to assist and educate the public in their gardening endeavors. Our services include assistance with plant identification and disease, insect identification and soil testing.

For other services:

  • Human and household pest problems and concerns should be directed to the Rock County Environmental Health Department, (608) 757-5441.
  • Emerald Ash Borer information, including homeowner reporting, should be direct to

Help by phone:

Please call the UW-Extension Rock County office at (608) 757-5696 at any time.   Please leave a clearly stated phone number and a brief explanation of your gardening concern.  Your call is typically returned within one or two business days by a Master Gardener Volunteer.

Walk-in visits:

To talk in person with your county UW-Extension Ag Agent, Nick Baker,  please visit him at the Rock County Courthouse, 2nd floor, in the UW-Extension office.

Where to deliver samples:

Please deliver all samples to UW-Extension Rock County, 2nd floor of the Rock County Courthouse, Janesville.

Home visits:

Home site visits are not performed. Please contact a for-hire professional for on-site assistance.

Chemical Recommendations

  • A non-chemical solution will be emphasized when appropriate and practical (which is most of the time!)
  • To minimize chemical misuse and abuse, Master Gardener Volunteers have been instructed to NOT provide chemical recommendations over the phone or electronically to the general public.   When necessary, a fact sheet can be mailed to the homeowner with a variety of control recommendations.
  • To receive a chemical recommendation,  samples can be delivered to the office to be examined by the Master Gardener Volunteers or Horticulture Educator.   Appropriate recommendations are given only once a visual diagnosis is made.

Services Provided

Plant Identification

What we need:

  • If possible, submit the entire plant (especially for weeds). The roots may be important for identification.
  • For trees and shrubs– a branch with leaves attached.
  • Flowers and fruits are also helpful in identification.
  • Submit sample in a plastic bag, do NOT water.
  • Wrap turf in foil, do NOT water.

Disease Identification

What we need:

  • For herbaceous plants, submit the entire plant that has symptoms.
  • For woody plants, submit the branch that has symptoms (living and dead parts).
  • Submit sample in a plastic bag, do NOT add water.

In some cases, and with your permission, it is necessary to forward samples to the diagnostic laboratories (UW-Madison). There will be a $15 to $25 charge. You will be invoiced for this service.

Insect Identification

What we need:

  • If possible, submit the insect specimen, preferably alive.
  • Bring in a small jar or plastic container so it does not get squashed.
  • Detail the location it was found.

Soil Testing

What you get:

  • Analysis of current nutrient content of your soil (P,K).
  • Current soil pH.
  • Recommendation of type and amount of fertilizer to add.
  • Allow 1-2 weeks for return of results.

What we need:

  • 2 cups of air dried soil.
  • Samples should contain soil from surface to 6 inches deep.
  • Take soil from 3 or 5 places in area to be tested, mix together and submit 2 cups of mixture in clean plastic bag or bucket.

When to sample:

  • Can be done anytime the soil is not frozen.
  • Best done before you apply fertilizer.

What is the cost?

  • Cost is $8 for crops and $15 per home turf or garden sample plus postage, payable by cash or check at time of sample submission (checks made payable to UW-Extension)
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