Extension Master Gardeners Offer Free Gardening Helpline

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[May 24, 2020]    As this year’s spring frosts become an item of the past, gardeners are excited to be practicing their “green-thumb” skills in the warmth and sunshine.

No matter how many years of experience gardeners have, there always seem to be new questions and challenges that arise. University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners from Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties are available to help with home garden and landscape questions.

“Over thirty years ago, Extension Master Gardeners in Peoria County started a gardening helpline,” explained Ian Goslin, Extension horticulture coordinator. “Now we have Master Gardeners from multiple counties volunteer to research and answer all types of gardening questions, as well as identify plants and insects.”

The local Gardening Helpline volunteers field questions such as general gardening advice, problems with a specific plant, how to deal with a pest, the general condition of a lawn, and a variety of other topics. During the 2020 Shelter-in-Place order, Extension Master Gardeners (EMG) are receiving the questions via email and voicemail.

Everyone is welcome to send in questions to uiemg-peoria@illinois.edu. The email should include the question, along with some background information about the plant or problem, as well as what plant care practices the gardener/homeowner has been following and the sender’s contact information. Depending on the question, good, clear photos may also be helpful to the EMG who is researching the question. Including a common item, such as a pen or pencil, in the photo is a good way for the EMG to have a size reference.

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“We are a well-trained source of unbiased, research-based horticulture information,” Larry Stratton, Extension Master Gardener and Gardening Helpline project leader. “We are always available year-round and a free service for the public. This year, since the Extension offices are currently closed, we are continuing what we call our “limited service,” which is responding via email and voice mail phone calls to the office. None of our volunteers are available in person this season.”

“All of our local Extension offices are able to pass on a voice mail message to the Gardening Helpline volunteers, but the main Helpline phone number is 309-685-3140,” Goslin stated. “Our website is also available day and night and is another great resource for horticulture questions.”


Illinois Extension provides practical translations of cutting-edge research to help people, businesses, and communities find answers to some of the most pressing issues of our modern world. Our work is guided by a desire to create meaningful progress toward addressing a select group of issues, which we call grand challenges: community, economy, environment, food, and health.

[Anita Wilkinson
Communications Program Coordinator
Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit]


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