The Horticulture program provides assistance with home lawn and gardens as well as technical assistance to landscape, turf, and ornamental production professionals.

Logo for the Master Gardeners

Extension Master Gardener Help Desk

Get your lawn and garden questions answered by our Extension Master Gardener Help Desk. We are available to help Monday-Friday 9:00am-3:00pm in Room 234 of Building #14 in the Virginia Beach Municipal Complex. We are also available via phone 757-385-8156 or email vbmghelp@vbgov.com.

Become an Extension Master Gardener

Extension Master Gardeners are trained volunteer educators. VCE-MGs work within their local communities to encourage and promote environmentally sound horticulture practices through sustainable landscape management education and training. As an educational outreach component of Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Master Gardener program brings the resources of Virginia’s land-grant universities – Virginia Tech and Virginia State University –  to the people of the Commonwealth. 

Orientation sessions are in May. After completing an application process, participants will attend a nine week training course from September through November. All volunteers are trained with at least 50 hours of horticultural classes and return at least 50 hours of volunteer community service through their local Extension office. Contact our office for dates of these events.

Pesticide Recertification Classes

Commercial Applicator recertification classes are offered five times per year throughout the Tidewater area through Virginia Cooperative Extension. Categories 3a, 3b, 5a, 6, 8, 10, and 60 are approved for recertification by VDACS via these recertification classes.

The Agriculture program serves the crop production and animal science industries.

Forage Nutritional and Mold Analysis

Forage producers and livestock and horse owners may submit hay or silage samples for nutritional analysis or mold counts. We recommend using Cumberland Valley Analytical Services, Inc. in Hagerstown, MD. The Virginia Beach Extension Office has the forms and plastic bags necessary for submitting samples by mail. The lab charges a reasonable fee for this service.

Forage Samples for Endophyte and Fungus Determination

Livestock and horse owners may submit hay samples for determining levels of endophyte fungus in fescue samples. Brood mares in their last trimester of pregnancy are at most risk for this endophyte fungus. We recommend using the School of Veterinary Medicine at University of Missouri or Auburn Fescue Laboratory at Auburn University. These labs run analysis for the ergovaline toxin produced by the endophyte fungus. The endophyte does not always produce a toxic concentration of the toxin. Contact the Virginia Beach Extension Office for details.

Feeds and Grains Toxicology

Livestock owners may submit feed or forage samples to the VA-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech. The Toxicology Laboratory has the capability to conduct analyses for heavy metals, minerals (deficiencies and poisonings), Vitamins A and E, pesticides, rodenticides, mycotoxins, nitrate, and cyanide. The majority of samples submitted to the laboratory deal with forage and feed analyses for mycotoxins, nitrate, and cyanide. Mycotoxins are typically not a problem in hay or haylage. Individuals unsure of the appropriateness of a sample should contact the toxicologist before sending the sample 540-231-4587. A representative sample of at least one pound is adequate for feed and forage tests. A history, including feed type, type of animals, and clinical signs should be submitted with each sample. Sample bags and forms are available at the Virginia Beach Extension Office.

The services available through the Agriculture and Natural Resources program include:

Insect Identification Laboratory

Homeowners and farmers can submit insect samples for identification by bringing a live or well-preserved, dead insect sample to the Virginia Beach Extension Office. Bring sample in a zip lock plastic bag or vile of alcohol. Master Gardener volunteers or Extension Agents will try to identify and make a recommendation if the insect is a pest. If we are not able to identify, we will mail your insect sample to the Insect ID lab at Virginia Tech.

Plant Disease Laboratory

Homeowners and farmers can submit plant samples for disease identification by bringing a plant sample with root intact in a ziplock bag with one pint of moist soil to the Virginia Beach Extension Office. If Extension Agents or Master Gardeners are not available or able to identify disease, we will mail to the Plant Disease Laboratory at Virginia Tech.

Weed Identification Laboratory

Homeowners and farmers can submit weed samples for identification by bringing freshly dug weed with root wrapped in a moist paper towel inside a ziplock bag to the Chesapeake Extension Office. If Extension Agents or Master Gardeners are not available or able to identify weed, we will mail to the Weed ID Laboratory at Virginia Tech.

Soil Testing

Homeowners and farmers can submit soil samples to the Soil Testing Laboratory at Virginia Tech by picking up soil sample boxes at the Virginia Beach Extension Office or participating Virginia Beach City Libraries. We will provide you with the application form and instructions for taking the soil sample and mailing to the lab. A report will be mailed to you from the Soil Testing Lab with recommendations for the plant/crop you plan to grow.

Engaging with Communities

Virginia Cooperative Extension specialists in community viability work with Extension agents, campus-based faculty, organizational partners, communities, and individuals to further opportunity and build capacity in five program areas:   

Examples of our work include training county elected officials, educating entrepreneurs, facilitating collaborative projects, supporting the growth of community food systems and local economies, enhancing agent skills and community capacity in facilitation and leadership, conducting problem-driven research, and creating publications and tools that address critical community needs.

Do you have a question about Community Viability?

Perhaps one of the Community Viability specialists below can help you. Contact a Community Viability specialist or direct a question to them using our Ask an Expert system.

Community Viability Specialists

See a list of our Community Viability Specialists