Farmers are tilling and planting and Iowans who live in town are also busy this time of year tending to yards and gardens. Iowa State University Extension Horticulturist Richard Jauron has been answering their questions for more than two decades on radio, over the phone or through the I-S-U Extension “Answer Line.”

Jauron can’t think of any one most-common question. They ask him about vegetable gardening, tree fruit, lawns and turfgrass, trees and shrubs, flowers and houseplants…it covers the whole area of home gardening. Jauron says for decades people have been bringing and mailing their plants to I-S-U to be identified or diagnosed with some plant ailment. He says home computers can make that a little easier.

Sending in a photo can help or can make it more complicated. He says nowdays they can send in a photo using a digital camera for the horticulture specialist to try and identify on the computer. But sometimes he says the job entails the same surprises it always has. Sometimes a photograph isn’t clear enough and they have trouble coming up with the identification of the plant they’ve been asked to provide. One picture sent recently was a little distorted, so they asked the owner to send in a sample of the plant. They did, and the plant turned out to be poison ivy.

There are lots of options nowdays for the puzzled gardener in search of help. Jauron says on the Iowa State University homepage, the “Yard and Garden On-line” feature offers resources including Extension publications. There are articles they can read on the computer, links to other sites, and videos they can watch. His advice to home gardeners is just to read up on what they plan to do, and “just go do it.”

Related web sites:
I-S-U Extension ¥Yard and Garden On-line¥