Have horticulture questions? Who are you going to call?

Farm Forum

Extension has long been a “go to” place to get help with horticulture problems, questions, diagnosis and recommendations. At one time, there was a Horticulture Department in the College of Ag and Biological Sciences at SDSU, but for several years now, is part of the Plant Science Department. The focus of the program is to provide the public with current research-based information on gardening, lawn care, plants and flowers, trees and shrubs. This information is largely disseminated differently from a few short years ago, but education is provided throughout the state by a variety of methods.

Gardeners and homeowners with Internet access certainly have an advantage as SDSU Extension provides a wide range of resources through their web presence. iGrow Gardens: http://igrow.org/gardens/ offers short, timely articles as well as links to more detailed information. iGrow Gardens also has a link to “Ask an Expert”, through which Extension Specialists answer questions submitted by gardeners and homeowners. The SDSU Extension Horticulture website (http://bit.ly/1k2fzPG) directs people to information on the Master Gardener program, McCrory Gardens, Garden to Market programs and Youth Gardening. The Master Gardener program (http://bit.ly/1kd9Vfk) trains volunteers, who extend the reach of Extension through their work with youth, community gardens and the public. The website also contains links to valuable information on horticulture topics. National eXtension at http://www.extension.org/ is a nationally supported network of Extension professionals providing information on a wide range of topics, including horticulture.

In addition to these online resources, the SDSU Plant Diagnostic Lab (605-688-5545 or http://bit.ly/1iltJJd) accepts both physical samples and digital photos of plants or insects, and performs diagnostic services on a fee basis. “AnswerLine” allows an option for the public to submit questions by telephone from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm by calling 1-888-393-6336. AnswerLine staff will collect the information needed by the network of experts to answer the questions. Clientele will usually receive the answer(s) to their questions via e-mail, phone call or other communication within 48 hours. Master Gardeners are volunteers who have received university training in horticulture and agreed to return a certain number of hours of volunteer time serving their communities in horticulture extension activities. They may volunteer time answering questions in local Extension offices or regional centers, write articles or may be available to take questions from their homes or possibly make home visits.

There are also a few state-wide Extension staff who work in various areas of horticulture and may be able to answer individual questions on a limited basis in their topic area. For help in contacting them, contacting Master Gardeners, submitting samples to the SDSU Plant Diagnostic Lab or accessing any of the other resources discussed here, contact your Regional Extension Center or your local County Extension Office.