Knowledgeable volunteers assist local Clemson Extension agents and office staff by providing research-based information to homeowners and residents. Plant clinics and workshops are staffed by certified Master Gardeners and interns who obtain continuing education by doing research while giving back to the community. Beaufort County Master Gardeners report more than 5,000 hours of community and educational service annually.
Do you need to bring in a soil test to check pH and soil fertility on your property before purchasing fertilizers? When is the right time to put out fertilizer? Are you worried about lawn pests and diseases? Would you like help with a school or home garden? Do you need help with landscaping in the Lowcountry? These are just a few of the many questions and problems Beaufort County Master Gardeners can help with.
Climate and soils can be challenging to folks moving to the coastal south from other growing regions, but a $6 soil test can help. The tests are submitted to the Agricultural Laboratory and offer recommendations on lime and fertilization.
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New residents may be unfamiliar with our area’s plant materials or warm-season grasses that have different requirements than those grown farther north. If a homeowner is experiencing a problem with turf or ornamental plants, the Plant Problem Clinic can help. Samples are examined by specialists, and for $10, clients can receive a diagnosis and recommendations for treatment. The clinic offers additional tests including weed and insect identification, irrigation water tests, aquaculture ponds, orchard leaf, and feed and forage analysis.
The Hilton Head Plant Clinic is held from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays at the South Beaufort County Government office, 539 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head Island. The clinic has forms and collection bags for submissions. Cash or check only.
Master Gardeners volunteer to help others become successful gardeners in many ways. They “coach” teachers and students in school vegetable gardens, weed and plant public ornamental gardens, speak to civic and environmental groups, and serve on community boards.
Master Gardeners have also organized the award-winning Lunch and Learn program, which brings garden speakers and demonstrations to the Port Royal Farmers Market on Saturdays.
The Lowcountry Master Gardener Association’s fundraiser, Rent a Master Gardener, provides home visits by a team of Master Gardeners and interns. The team makes recommendations on specific problems and offers suggestions about plant materials for your landscape. Proceeds from this program have gone toward Clemson University scholarships for area students studying horticulture or natural resources, in addition to funding other local programs.
Volunteers also have a presence each Thursday at the Bluffton Farmers Market. Master Gardeners are on hand to answer questions and distribute brochures on gardening, landscaping, water quality topics, and to help raise environmental awareness.
To learn more about Master Gardeners and their work, go to www.lowcountrymastergardeners.org or www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic. The Beaufort Extension office, 18 John Galt Road, Beaufort, is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. 843-255-6060.
Laura Lee Rose is the Consumer Horticulture Agent and Master Gardener Coordinator for the Beaufort County Clemson Extension Service. Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer.