Gardening and Environmental Hotline

*All hotline services are free, but in the event that our volunteer staff are unable to identify your plant or pest, you have the option to send it to the Plant Diagnostic Laboratory for a $20.00 fee.  

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 Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners who will connect you to science-based horticultural information via phone ((401)-874-4836), email ( and in-person (by appointment only).  If using the email service, we encourage you to send along multiple photos of your plant problem, including an item for scale. Click here for frequently asked questions.

Tips on taking a good photo

  • Take several photos of the plant/ pest/ disease, including any identifying characteristics (leaves, buds, flowers, etc…)
  • Take up-close photos by bringing your camera in closer or by zooming in.
  • Take photos of the entire plant to view it in context.
  • Focus your camera! If you have a smart phone, open the camera app and simply tap your screen on the area you want the lens to focus on. 
  • Include an object for scale, preferably a ruler.
  • For identifying diseases, take photos of the extent of the damage of the whole plant, juncture of the diseased area, and healthy adjacent parts of the plant.

URI Soil Testing Service

URI Master Gardener volunteers conduct free soil pH testing as a service to the residents of Rhode Island and surrounding areas from March through October.

Learn more and find a soil testing site near you!