Plant, pest diagnostics available

MIAMI COUNTY — To help address gardening questions and more, the Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic will be available through the Ohio State University Extension — Miami County office. Residents of the county can call, email or stop in with a sample plant, weed or bug for volunteers to examine and identify. The service is free to county residents.

The helpline will operate Mondays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Thursdays 2-4 p.m. May through September with the exception of Memorial Day and the week of the Miami County Fair, during which they will be onsite in the Horticulture building to answer questions.

The clinic is staffed by trained Master Gardener Volunteers who have completed a rigorous program and are highly knowledgeable about a variety of topics and issues related to horticulture and gardening, according to Amanda Bennett, extension educator. These volunteers have collectively logged thousands of hours through their work with local community gardens, Habitat for Humanity and more, she said. The helpline is part of their mission to provide education services to their community through a variety of different forms that also include clinics, presentations and other horticulture activities, she said.

Working in tandem with county extension personnel, the Master Gardeners are backed by the Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Science research faculty, which allows the helpline volunteers to answer your questions using the latest, unbiased information.

The clinic is designed to connect community members with MGVs to answer questions on trees, gardening, insects, herbs, flowers, wildlife, landscaping and fruit. You may call the clinic at (937) 440-3945 or stop by the office.

If you are bringing a sample to the office at 510 W. Water St., Troy, please note, in most cases, more is better. A 1-2 foot branch, sod samples about dinner plate size, plants that are just beginning to show symptoms rather than dead specimens, etc. In order to assist you in the most efficient way, please provide as much information as possible so that is easier for the trained volunteer to assist. If you choose to email your question to volunteers at bennett.709@osu.edu, please include a picture.

The Miami County Extension program currently has over 65 volunteers. If you are interested in the program, contact the office for more information.