Master Gardeners Offer Phone Support | house style

Like everyone else, I’m waiting for sunny days to start gardening seriously. I learned that the gardeners here in Adams County are a hardy group who grow abundant flowers and vegetables despite less than optimal weather and other gardening challenges. But even the most experienced gardener can use a little help from time to time.

In your arsenal of tools needed for successful gardening, don’t forget the Adams County Helpline. The hotline is just a phone call, email or visit away. It’s operated by a team of fifteen Penn State Master Gardeners who provide research-based information to help solve your gardening problems. The master gardeners working on the hotline can help with a wide variety of problems; in 2021, master gardeners helped 107 homeowners solve a wide variety of problems. The hotline is a free service for hobby gardeners.

This year, the hotline will operate three days a week, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until September 30. On Mondays and Fridays, you can go to the extension office and meet a master gardener in person (except holidays). On Wednesdays, master gardeners work from home and will answer questions by email.

If you plan to visit the Extension Center for assistance in identifying a plant, disease or plant pest, please bring a fresh sample of the plant and pest. Collect the plant sample just before your visit. Bring in a diseased or infested part and material from the same plant that is not diseased or infested, if possible.

For turf questions, please collect at least one 4 x 4 inch square cut from the lawn that includes the entire plant with roots and soil. When you meet the master gardener, you will be asked to provide your name, phone number and email address, along with relevant information about the plant, including identity (if you know it), age, location, when you first noticed the problem (such as date of onset of disease or insect infestation), growing conditions such as sun and wind exposure, treatments such as feeding and watering, and anything you have tried to alleviate the problem. Please note that it is best if a master gardener can examine the specimen soon after you bring it. Refrigerating a sample for more than a short time can affect the master gardener’s ability to diagnose the problem.

Insect identification is easier if you can capture the insect and bring it to the extension center. If you cannot, please provide a photo or photos. Place insects in a plastic bag, jar or plastic container. Be careful not to crush or alter the appearance of the specimen as this will make identification more difficult. Record information from your sightings of the insect, including whether it is a single insect or an infestation, where you found the insect, and any activity you observed.

If you are unable to come during telephone support hours on Monday or Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., you can drop off your samples during office hours, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. master gardener on the following Monday or Friday will examine the specimen. You can send your questions by e-mail at any time; emails sent outside of hotline hours will be addressed by a master gardener during the next hotline shift. Please include a photo of the plant, insect or problem you are asking in your email and include as much information as possible to aid in identification and diagnosis.

Monday videos: Visit us on Facebook at Penn State Master Gardeners in Adams County for Monday videos from our Master Gardeners. Timely and relevant topics will be discussed weekly to keep readers up to date on current horticultural issues.

Helpline: The Master Gardener hotline is open from April to September, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Master gardeners can take your samples on Mondays and Fridays. Please email (with photos if possible) to with your gardening questions, or stop by Penn State Extension, 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Gettysburg.

Well-being in the garden: Saturday, May 21, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., join us for yoga, qigong, tea and light refreshments, and a tour of the garden. Learn about the benefits of this type of exercise and the teas you can grow in your garden. Registration: $35

Pam Haze is a Penn State Master Gardener from Adams County. Penn State Cooperative Adams County Extension is located at 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Suite 204, Gettysburg, phone 334-6271.

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