Master Gardener Help Desk
Submitting Photos for Diagnosis/ID
If you have questions about your home lawn, garden, insects, or other landscape issues, please send photos along with your question(s) to our Chatham Master Gardener Help Desk, firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also leave a voicemail any time at (912) 652-7984.
We do not make site-visits for home garden calls. Issues/identifications can be diagnosed with good photos. In certain scenarios, you may be asked to bring in a plant sample for observation or to submit a soil sample for analysis.
For questions regarding COMMERCIAL fruit and vegetable production, nursery and greenhouse production, commercial landscaping, school gardens, etc. please direct your questions to our ANR Educator, email@example.com.
What We Need
Please include your name and a phone number in your email message.
TAKING GOOD IMAGES IS VITAL TO PROPER IDENTIFICATION OR DIAGNOSIS. IMAGE SUBMISSIONS SHOULD INCLUDE:
- Close-ups of the problem or specimen for ID. This would include things like a branch of a plant that clearly shows a leaf pattern, or the head, body, wings or other unique part of an insect. It is ok to take 2-3 photos if different areas of an issue need to be shared.
- Also include a photo that represents the ‘big picture’ or surrounding conditions. An example would be the grass surrounding a problem area that includes the problem area, the full images of an insect or plant, showing the top and underside views, along with any distinctive colorations or patterns.
- For identification purposes, it is often helpful to place a ruler alongside the subject to show size. You can also use other common items such as a coin or ink pen.
- In the case of insect damage, take a photo of the insect, damage, and mound/nest if possible. Be clear if you are wanting ID, control methods, or both.
- Specifically for tree issues – pics needed are: close-up of problem area, pic of whole tree and surroundings, pic that shows canopy well, pic that shows trunk and root flare. (Definitions – Canopy is the uppermost part of the tree made up of branches and leaves; Trunk – the main stem apart from limbs and roots; Root Flare – the area around the base of the trunk where support roots emerge.)
- Specifically for pond issues - Please take a pictures of the whole pond as well as any problem areas. Up close pictures of the issue are needed as well. If the issue is plant growth, please pull some of the growth out of the pond and take a close photo of the plant on your hand or a piece of plain white paper.
IMAGES ALONE MAY NOT PROVIDE ENOUGH INFORMATION, SO INCLUDE SOME OF THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION ALONG WITH QUESTIONS AND OTHER DESCRIPTIONS:
- Specify type and variety if known
- Date planted (approximately)
- Approximate height
- Plant location/conditions – sun, shade, wet, dry, soil type
- Irrigation method and how often
- When was problem first noticed
- Fertilization – methods, product used, how often/when last applied
- Other chemical applications – product used, when last applied
For insects or other pests
- What areas are affected?
- Where was the insect found?
- What is it doing (if still alive)?
- How many are there?
- Be clear if you are wanting ID, control methods, or both.
How to Send Photos and Questions Using a Smartphone:
If you don't have the ability to email photos, you can text photos to an email address by entering the email address into the "To" field, which is where you would normally add the contact's phone number.
Photos can only be sent one at a time and it is best if the question is sent in a separate text.
Texting photos/questions is one-way communication. We will not be able to respond back to you with a text. You will need to share either a phone number or email address to receive a response.
Photos and questions can be emailed or texted to:
firstname.lastname@example.org (home garden questions)
email@example.com (commercial clients)