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Bring plant questions to this weekend's plant clinic

March 13, 2007|by ANNETTE IPSAN

Got a plant or pest problem? What about gardening?

This weekend, March 17 and 18, can be your time to consult with the Master Gardeners of Washington County.

They will be hosting a plant clinic at the annual Flower & Garden Show at Hagerstown Community College.

Stop by and say, "hello," bring us a question, and take home some of our free gardening fact sheets.

The Master Gardeners will also have regular plant clinics at the Hagerstown City Farmers Market at 25 W. Church St. the first Saturday of every month, starting April 7, from 8 a.m. to noon.

And, look for our plant clinics at May Mart in downtown Hagerstown on May 10 and at Boonsboro Days on Sept. 8 and 9.

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At a plant clinic, folks might ask such questions as:

· What is this bug?

· Which flowering plants grow well in shade?

· What are those spots on my azaleas?

· Which trees thrive in damp areas?

· What can I do to get rid of Japanese beetles?

· Why aren't my crape myrtles flowering?

· What can I do about the deer?

A plant clinic is an ask-me-anything information booth where you can bring gardening questions or plant or insect samples for identification and advice.

Master Gardener plant clinics offer you on-the-spot answers to questions about plants, pests or gardening.

Do you have a pesky pest in your home?

Pop a few samples in a plastic bag and bring it to a plant clinic. We'll identify it and tell you what you can do to get rid of the problem.

Are you thinking about starting your first vegetable garden?

We'll give you some pointers on when to plant, what to plant and growing from seeds or small plants.

Do you want to attract butterflies or hummingbirds to your garden? We can suggest some proven plants and techniques.

Would you like to know what that striking evergreen tree is in your neighbor's yard?

Bring us a photo and/or a sample of the leaves or seed pod in a plastic bag (with your neighbor's permission, of course) and we will identify it and tell you what it needs to thrive.

Are there small brown crusty ovals on your orchids? We can tell you what insect causes the problem and give you some tips for controlling it.

Would you like to add some native plants to your landscape? We can give you some suggestions and steer you to some wonderful resources to learn more.

We welcome any and all gardening questions and samples at our plant clinics.

If you bring us a sample or a plant or insect, please put it in a tightly sealed plastic bag and label it with your name, address and e-mail address.

Fresh samples are easier to identify, so try to collect them the day or day before you plan to visit a plant clinic.

Master Gardeners are volunteer educators with the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension.

They are volunteers who receive extensive training in botany, entomology, plant pathology and more.

The mission of the Master Gardeners is to teach safe, effective gardening techniques that help build healthy gardens and communities.

Master Gardeners can answer most gardening questions on the spot at plant clinics. If they can't, they will research your question and get back to you in a timely manner with answers and advice.

As your Extension Educator for horticulture, I am always eager to answer your questions and give advice.

The Master Gardeners plant clinics extend the Extension's reach into your communities, offering you more access to qualified information and advice.

Please take advantage of this wonderful resource. Our plant clinics exist to serve you.

We are here to help you solve problems, expand your know-how, protect the environment and enjoy your garden more.

Annette Ipsan is the Extension educator for horticulture and the Master Gardener program in Washington County for the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension. She can be reached weekdays by telephone at 301-791-1604, or by e-mail at aipsan@umd.edu

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