Extension – We can help answer gardening questions

SEFFNER, Fla. – Have you seen a caterpillar in your garden and wondered what it is? Have you tried growing St. Augustinegrass, but faced problems in the summertime?

Through the year, we encounter garden wildlife, pests, weeds, flowers, chewed holes and diseases.

If you’d like help getting your garden questions answered, call the UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County. We have fun identifying insects and can help you become a better Florida gardener.

Our services include:

This passionvine is planted on purpose – to attract the zebra longwing butterfly and their caterpillars. Butterfly gardeners tolerate some chewing damage on their plants because they know these caterpillars turn into beautiful butterflies. Photo courtesy of Master Gardener Nanette O’Hara.

  • Troubleshooting plant problems
  • Soil pH testing
  • Insect, plant and disease identification
  • Watering recommendations
  • Recommendations for growing vegetables and fruits
  • Florida Friendly LandscapingTM
  • Fertilizer and nutrient recommendations

Our Master Gardener help desk is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM. You can call our help desk at (813) 744-5519 X 4 and then press “2” or reach us by email at hillsmg@ad.ufl.edu.

In order for us to help you with your garden problems, please remember to:

  • bring a branch or stem with several leaves.
  • include flowers, seeds and/or fruit when possible.
  • bring fresh samples; dead grass, leaves, branches and twigs provide very little useful information.

Bring samples in a zip-top bag, plastic container or box.

For grass samples, it is helpful to bring a section of grass that is 1’ square and shows a progression of symptoms. This means the best place to take a sample is where you have some healthy turf and some turf that is currently declining. Turf that is completely dead or brown would not be a good sample because it no longer provides clues as to what the problem may be. You can transport grass samples in a box or on newspaper. The sample may be placed back in the landscape after we look at it.

If you’re unable to make the trip to our Seffner office, try e-mailing photos of your landscape problem or questions. We recommend you send several photos that include the problem and the overall landscape where the problem is found. E-mail us at hillsmg@ad.ufl.edu.

The UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County is happy to provide you FREE advice and publications. Find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HCFFL/ and view our calendar of events at http://hillsborough.ifas.ufl.edu/calendar.shtml.

Nicole Pinson, (813) 744-5519 X 54145, pinsonn@hillsboroughcounty.org