What is wrong with my roses? They have black spots on the leaves and the leaves are dropping. Why are my tomatoes wilting? How do I control thistle in the garden?
The answer to this and all your garden questions can be found through Ohio State University Extension’s (OSUE) Master Gardener Volunteer (MGV) program.
We have over 3,500 MGV’s in 64 Ohio counties who are trained through OSUE by horticulture, entomology, plant pathology and other specialists.
Upon completion of their training, they volunteer in various capacities in their communities, teaching people research-based horticulture. One of those projects in many counties is the Horticulture or Home Lawn and Garden Helpline.
MGV’s volunteer their time to answer the questions posed by gardeners. The MGV’s who do this love to learn and love to research plant problems and help you figure out the solution if there is one.
Each county with a MGV program usually has a Master Gardner Help Line or some type of method to answer questions. You can find out if your county has a MGV program and if they provide this service by going to the internet and putting in your county followed by osu.edu
For instance, Clark County’s Extension website is clark.osu.edu. Once you get there, click on the left column where it says Master Gardener Volunteers and you can work your way through the menu to find the Master Gardener Help Line.
Be sure to bookmark this link so you can return to the site easily. We also have a shortened link (go.osu.edu/clarkgardenhelpline) to give you direct access.
In Clark County, we have a face-to-face diagnostic clinic on Monday nights from 5 – 7 p.m. and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday where you can bring samples and ask questions. It is in the clubhouse area of the Snyder Park Gardens and Arboretum, 1900 Park St., Springfield.
This clinic will last through August. Please be sure to bring excellent samples of your plant problems. We don’t autopsy dead twigs! We can’t tell what killed something! We can figure out what might be causing a problem and give potential solutions, however.
You can also call our office at 937-398-7600 and leave a message for our MGV’s who staff the helpline. Someone will get back with you as soon as possible.
You can also use OSU Extension’s online portal for the Ask a Master Gardener Volunteer. MGV’s across the state are trained to take online questions and research and provide solutions and information. Again, go to your county website (see above) and click on the Ask an Expert button on the right side.
This takes you to a landing page and on the right, you will see the link for lawn and garden questions.
As I mentioned, our MGV’s who staff the helplines enjoy the work and the research involved in identifying a plant problem or helping you with a plant-related question. They learn so much.
Check with your local county Extension office to see when they might be able to help. If they don’t have an MGV helpline, there is an Agriculture and Natural Resources educator who can either help or guide you to the answers.
Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author