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The University of Massachusetts Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory is located on the campus of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Testing services are available to all. The function of the Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory is to provide test results and recommendations that lead to the wise and economical use of soils and soil amendments. For additional information not outlined on this page, call the UMass Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Lab at (413) 545-2311.
Plant Problem Diagnostics
The University of Massachusetts Amherst recognizes the importance of reliable and prompt diagnosis of plant problems for the turf, floriculture, vegetable, nursery, urban forestry and landscape industries. The UMass Extension Plant Problem Diagnostic Lab exists to serve farmers, horticulturists, landscape contractors, turf managers, arborists, nurseries, and others in agriculture and the green industries.
UMass Extension, in cooperation with researchers at the UMass Laboratory for Medical Zoology, will assess specimens to determine whether they are black legged ticks (deer ticks), and if so, will determine whether or not they carry the bacterium that causes Lyme Disease. The test can detect the Lyme disease pathogen from a single tick. Analysis for up to ten different tick-borne diseases is also available.
Master Gardener Garden Hotlines
Mondays, 9:00 AM to noon, May 1 through October 1. Questions taken via voice mail and e-mail year round.
Wellesley, MA, (617) 933-4929
Phone consultations from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM. Help line is available on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday April through October; Wednesday and Friday in March and November; Wednesdays only December through February.
(401) 874-4836 (outside Rhode Island)
(800) 448-1011 (inside Rhode Island)
March through October, Mon. - Thur. 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Barnstable County Master Gardener Program (For MA Barnstable County Residents Only)
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
May - Sept: Mon. - Fri.
April & Oct: Mon./Wed./Fri.
Feb, March & Nov: Tue./Thur.
Dec. & Jan: Closed
Arnold Arboretum Plant Information Line (Trees and Shrubs Only)
Jamaica Plain, MA, (617) 384-5235
year-round, Mon. 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Boylston, MA, (508) 869-6111 x 10
year-round, Wed. 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
walk-ins are accepted during hotline hours, garden admission will be charged.
1-800-682-9211 ( Toxicologist Consultation)
Conservation and Wildlife
"Wildlife" section of the web site includes information about nuisance wildlife and a listing of licensed control agents.
Massachusetts Audubon Natural History Help Line
Lincoln, MA, (781) 259-9506 x 7416
year-round, Mon. - Fri. 9am - 5pm
National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) (800) 858-7378
Sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency; offers impartial information about pesticides (products, poisoning, safety, health and environmental effects, etc.)
Neither the Arnold Arboretum External Link nor the Poison Control Center External Link are willing to make telephone recommendations regarding poisonous plants any longer for liability reasons. The following references are suggested by the Arnold Arboretum
- Common Poisonous Plants and Mushrooms of North America - Turner & Szczawinski
- Baby Safe Houseplants and Cut Flowers - Alber & Alber
Information available from this agency ranges from preventing soil erosion, to keeping water clean and plentiful, to safe handling and disposal of household products.
Consult your Local Garden Center
Many reputable firms have a trained horticulturist on staff who has received training or has been updated on topics such as new planting principles, pesticides, pest management, or locally adopted plants.
Please Note: The information presented here is for educational purposes, no endorsement is intended. Contact information is subject to change without notice. University of Massachusetts Extension does not guarantee or warrant the standard of any referenced source of information or imply approval of a reference to the exclusion of other resources.