Gardening and Environmental Hotline

The URI Gardening & Environmental Hotline is a free service that provides high-quality, science-based solutions to problems encountered by residential gardeners. It is staffed by trained URI Extension Master Gardeners who will connect you to science-based horticultural information via phone, email or walk-in.

Trained URI Master Gardeners staff the hotline, serving as conduits to the knowledge base of the Land Grant University system. 

hotline 2016

If you would like to bring in a plant or insect for identification please plan on visiting the hotline which is located at the URI Extension Outreach Center. * Other available services during walk-in hours are free pH & texture testing of your soil.  If you would like your soil tested please bring in soil samples (limit of 3 at a time) taken 4-5″ deep from various parts of a bed or lawn.  Allow your sample to dry overnight on newspaper.  Samples should be brought in a plastic bag or paper bag.

Ways to Connect with the Hotline

CALL April – October Monday-Thursday from 9am-2pm at  (401) 874.4836

EMAIL year-round

WALK IN April – October from 9:30am-1:30 to get help with identifying plants & insects, free pH soil testing or with questions.  

The URI Gardening & Environmental Hotline is located at the URI Outreach Center, 3 East Alumni Ave, Kingston, RI, 02881

*All services that take place are free, but in the event that the hotliner volunteers are unable to ID your plant or pest you will have the option to have it looked at by the URI Plant Clinic for a $10 fee.

pH Soil Testing 

The University of Rhode Island Master Gardeners conduct free soil testing. These tests help determine your soil pH levels and texture. The Soil Specialists also provide basic information and recommendations for gradual correction of your soil problems. This service is provided for free and is available at various locations around the state during growing season.

How to Take a pH Soil Sample:

You will want to collect the samples of soil at the plant or lawn root zone (around 6″ deep). You should be gathering about a 1/2 cup amount from several sites within the same area to be tested. Mix them together, allow the soil to dry. Next place 1 cup of the mix in a paper bag or clean container and label it. Collect separate samples from different areas on your property such as vegetable gardens, lawns and flower gardens. Bring all the samples to the soil testing location.