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Berks Master Gardeners Offer Two New Ways To Reach The Garden Hotline

Penn State Extension

Aug 10, 2020

HAVE A GARDENING QUESTION? Master Gardeners continue to address questions from Berks County residents through the Garden Hotline. While the Berks County Penn State Extension office remains closed to the public, you can always reach a trained Master Gardener via email ([email protected]) to address your plant questions or concerns.  

In addition to reaching our Master Gardeners by email, we are excited to launch two new ways to reach our experienced volunteers. If you do not have a computer or email access or would rather discuss your garden questions in real-time, we are now offering both phone and video chat options on Wednesdays between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm, by appointment only, starting Wednesday, August 12, 2020. There is no cost to utilizing the hotline to assist in your gardening questions.  

Master Gardeners with advanced diagnostic training staff the hotline, to address questions related to lawn care, landscape plants, houseplants, fruit and vegetables, herbs, and more. In addition to plant care, the hotline can advise on insect and disease issues, and can provide identification of unknown plants or insects. All advice is based on Integrated Pest Management strategies and environmentally-friendly approaches. Garden Hotline volunteers are trained to gather the necessary information to tailor advice to each individual situation. 

Whether you decide to email, call, or video chat with a Master Gardener, here is some information that would be helpful to collect before reaching out: 

  • What is the category of your problem or question? Is your question most related to a plant (vegetable, flower, bush, tree, etc.), insect, or something else? 
  • What is the physical description of the affected plant or insect?  
  • Describe the location of the problem: sunny/shady, near any structures, wet/dry area, how much sun does it get during the day, what else is growing around the area, type of soil (pH if known). 
  • When did you first notice the problem? Did anything recently change in the affected area (i.e. fertilizer, chemical treatment, construction, landscaping, etc.)?
  • Is the problem limited to this plant or insect or are others affected?  

Here are some helpful tips when taking photos to send to the Garden Hotline: 

  • Take both closeup and whole plant photos. 
  • Include a photo of your garden area. Being able to see what is around your affected plant could help inform the solution to your question. 
  • Make sure photos are clear and in focus. If the photo is too bright or too dark, important details may not be discernable. 

Any information you can gather ahead of time, following the tips above, will help our Master Gardeners diagnose and address your questions in the most efficient ways possible. To set up a phone or video appointment, please contact Dawn Knepp at 610-378-1327 or [email protected].  

The Pennsylvania State University encourages qualified persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact us at 610-378-1327 in advance of your participation or visit.   




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