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

Assistance by phone:

Please call the Eau Claire County Extension office at 715-839-4712 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.  If you do not get a reply within 7 days, please try again as some messages are inadvertently overlooked during the busy season.

Assistance by email:

E-mails can be directed to our Administrative Specialist, Andy, at:

Electronic photos are welcomed.  For plants or plant disease, include information such as the species of plant, age and/or size, growing conditions, location in yard, and a brief description of the problem.
For insects, please indicate where it was found.
Please include your name, phone number and mailing address.

In office diagnosis:

You may stop in our office from 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM with your questions or plant or insect samples. If Margaret or a Master Gardener Volunteer is not available to help you then, we will have someone get back to you ASAP, usually with a day or two. Sometimes we may need a few days to find an answer, but we will find one for you!

Home visits:

Home site visits are not performed.  Please contact a for-hire professional for on-site assistance.  The Tree, Lawn & Garden Services brochure may assist you in this process.

Chemical Recommendations:

  • A non-chemical solution will be emphasized when appropriate and practical (which is most of the time!)
  • To minimize chemical missue 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. 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 dry 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.

When to sample:

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

What is the cost?

  • Lawn/Garden Sample – $25
  • Field Sample – $18
  • Wildlife Sample -$25
  • Payable cash, check, or credit card at time of sample submission (checks made payable to Eau Claire County Extension).

Online Resources from Division of Extension, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Learning Store
Wisconsin Horticulture
Plant Disease Diagnostics Clinic
Insect Diagnostic Lab