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If you've worked in Extension for 10 years or 10 minutes, undoubtedly you've been asked to provide the answer to a question and haven't known where to turn for the answer. And many times I'll bet, the subject of the question has had a horticultural slant. So if I may, allow me to provide a roadmap for finding the most appropriate faculty or staff in my department (the Department of Horticulture) to help you with those horticultural questions.
The Hortline (294-3108) - This resource is as close to one-stop shopping as you can get. Administered and supervised by Richard Jauron <email@example.com>, this is the place to send all of your consumer/homeowner types who have a question about all kinds of horticultural topics. Even professional/commercial clients have found this resource very useful. And of course, you yourself may call and ask a question on behalf of a client. But remember, the Hortline is a busy place and you might not "get through" on your first attempt.
Mr. Ryan Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org> (294-1957) - Ryan is our extension turfgrass specialist working with the turfgrass industry in Iowa and the region.
Dr. Kathleen Delate <email@example.com> (294-7069) - Kathleen is our extension specialist in the area of organic crop production.
Dr. Cindy Haynes <firstname.lastname@example.org> (294-4006) - Cindy is our consumer horticulture specialist with responsibilities for home demonstration gardens and serves as the Professor-in-charge for the Master Gardener Program.
Dr. Jeff Iles <email@example.com> (294-3718) - I am responsible for serving nursery and landscape professionals in Iowa. I also work a lot with local tree boards and enjoy making plant material recommendations to these groups.
Dr. Ajay Nair <firstname.lastname@example.org> (294-7080) - Ajay Nair is our extension specialist for vegetable production.
Dr. Denny Schrock <email@example.com> (294-4813) - Denny is Coordinator of the Master Gardener Program.
Of course, another great place to receive assistance is the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic housed in the Department of Plant Pathology (294-0581). Led by Christine Engelbrecht, the staff in "the clinic" are masters at diagnosing problems from live samples that you might send in, from digital photographs, and sometimes from a verbal description of the problem.
Finally, have you ever recommended a soil test if you were stumped by a problem or question. Sometimes having the soil analyzed by the Soil Testing Lab on campus can provide useful information, but many times, the problem you're trying to diagnose might have nothing to do with soil fertility. My point? Try to do some troubleshooting first (using many of the resources listed above) before recommending that soil test. There's no sense performing a diagnostic test if the results of that test don't help us solve the problem. Besides, we might just save the client a dollar or two.
Remember, those of us on campus are committed to helping you succeed with your (our) clients. Because when you succeed we all win. Keep up the great work out there in the trenches, and when you get to campus, please stop in for a visit.
Jeff Iles, Chair
Department of Horticulture
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-1100