Master gardeners trained by the Purdue Extension Office in Elkhart County will be offering a horticulture hotline from April to September. The hours of operation for the hotline will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. most weekdays. The phone number is 533-0554.
Samples of plants or insects can also be brought to the Extension Office, which is at 17746 C.R. 34, on the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds, east of Goshen.
Jeff Burbrink, Extension educator and coordinator of the local Purdue master gardener program, said that the volunteers running the hotline are trained to provide information about subjects related to gardening, including plant and pest identification, pest control, fertilizing, pruning and general care of plants.
Burbrink said the master gardener hotline answered about 1,000 questions in 2013. The most common questions last year concerned the emerald ash borer, an invasive species that is destroying ash trees in the Midwest. Burbrink said 2014 has already been a challenging year, with issues related to the snowy, cold winter affecting lawns, fruit bearing plants, trees and other perennials in the area.
To contact the hotline or to learn more about the master gardener program, contact the Purdue Extension Office of Elkhart County at 533-0554.