close-up photo of soil after tilling

You can obtain pH, nutrient profile, and other specialized soil tests through CCE-Rensselaer.

CCE-Rensselaer can identify Plants, Insects, and Diseases for $2/sample.

Gardening Questions

The CCE-Rensselaer Horticulture program provides support and services that can help home gardeners with a variety of gardening challenges. 

Do you have an unknown insect eating your tomato plants? Are those ants in the bathroom carpenter ants? Is a mysterious dieback troubling your spruce tree? Or is an unknown weed invading your lawn? We can help!

Master Gardeners can answer gardening questions and are in our office Monday through Friday, from 9:00 AM to Noon. Reach them by calling (518) 272-4210. During the winter this service is provided on Tuesday and Thursday only.

You can also send us a question by email. Be as detailed as possible, and attach digital photos to your email if available. Email questions to

Plant and Pest Diagnostic Lab

Our Horticulture Educator and Master Gardeners can examine insect and plant samples to pinpoint the cause of the problem, and recommend a management plan.

An insect sample should consist of five or more individual insect specimens. Household insects, such as grain beetles, ants, and moths can be examined as well as garden insects. Fee: $2.00 per sample.

We can examine plants samples damaged by insects, diseases or unknown causes. Samples should contain a generous amount of leaves and stems. Submitting both heavily damaged material as well as that just starting to show symptoms is helpful. Entire plants can be examined if they are small. Fee: $2.00 per sample.

We can try to identify unknown plants with the correct scientific and common names. Fee: $2.00 per sample.

If you are interested in submitting a lawn sample for diagnosis, please see the Lawn and Turfgrass Problems? Web page.

Submitting samples:

  1. Samples can be brought to our office at 99 Troy Road, Suite 203, East Greenbush, NY 12061, any weekday between 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM. We are closed on government holidays. The person dropping off the sample is required to fill out the appropriate paperwork. Call us at (518) 272-4210 if you have any questions.
  2. Samples can also be mailed to Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rensselaer County at the above address. Insects should be mailed in a crush-proof container such as a film canister or pill bottle. Include a note describing the problem, your check made payable to Cornell Cooperative Extension, and your name, address, and daytime phone number.

Last updated May 15, 2024