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Ask a Colorado Master Gardener

Colorado Master Gardeners are volunteers who are trained by Colorado State University Extension instructors to diagnose tree, lawn, and garden problems and to provide research based solutions.  Master Gardeners are prepared to:
  • Provide information to answer your questions
  • Diagnose problems
  • Help you understand your options to solve the problem
  • Make recommendations that are derived from research-based best management practices.

Help Desk Hours

During the winter months, Master Gardener Volunteers are available on an as-needed basis. Please leave a message or send an email and we will respond within 10 business days.

Phone:  719-520-7684
Email:  CSUmg2@elpasoco.com
Visit:  17 N. Spruce (just west of Bijou & I-25)

If writing to us, please provide information about the site, the history of the problem and your observations, and include a photo if possible.  You can also bring in a sample. For lawn issues, bring a shoebox size sample of your turf including the roots (some dead/some alive).  For trees or shrubs, an 18-inch branch is desired.

Books Available

We have the gardening books available Mon-Fri 8:00-noon, 1:00 - 5:00. Most notably:

  • Identification Key for Woody Plants of the Pikes Peak Region (call for availabilty and price)
  • Vegetable Gardening in the Pikes Peak Region ($10 + S&H)

Call 719-520-7690 for more information.

Soil Test Kits

Pick up a soil test kit from our El Paso County office anytime during normal office hours. Take the kit home and collect soil then send it to our Fort Collins campus where a lab analyzes the soil.

Each kit includes a collection container, instructions, mailing labels, a list of the services available and a price list. El Paso County provides the kits at no charge. The cost of the report is paid to Ft. Collins. A basic soil test costs $35 (as of March 2015, cost is subject to change periodically).

The following analyses are available:

  • Routine Garden and Landscape Soil Test
    • A basic evaluation for characterizing the soil fertility status. Provides report on: pH, EC (salts), organic matter, nitrate, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, iron, copper, manganese, boron, lime and texture estimates
  • Routine plus texture analysis by hydrometer
    • For an additional cost, the lab will include an accurate measure of the percent of sand, silt, and clay
  • Routine plus C/N ration
    • C/N ratio helps determine the fertilizer N recommendation for soil that has had high rate of compost of manure applied to it
  • Routine plus Sodium Evaluation (SAR)
    • Sodium Absorption Ration is the ration of sodium to calcium+magnesium
  • Routine plus Chromium, Molybdenum, Cadmium, Lead
    • Near mining sites metals may be found at toxic levels in the soil
  • Routine Manure, Compost and Potting Soil analyses

For additional soil test information please visit: http://www.soiltestinglab.colostate.edu/