Extension Program mentioned in book: Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Asked February 19, 2020, 8:55 AM EST

In the Epilogue on Page 281 of Lab Girl by Hope Jahren: " ...Every state university runs one or more large operations called Extension Units, full of experts qualified to give advise and encouragement to citizen gardeners, tree owners, and nature enthusiasts of al types. Call around: these researchers are obligated to provide free consultations to interested civilians regarding your trees, your compost heap, your out-of-control poison ivy." ... My question is: Is it true that Extension experts are obligate to provide free consultations? If so, how do I arrange for a tree consultation?

Prince George's County Maryland

1 Response

I've heard good things about Lab Girl!

I'm glad to see that Dr. Jahren promoted Extension in her book. Her words could be interpreted as meaning researchers are on call to provide on-site consultations to any resident in need of assistance. However, we doubt that was her intention.

Here's what we can do for you:
University of Maryland Extension (UME) serves the land-grant mission of the University of Maryland by teaching residents about science-based information and best practices. In addition to the vast amount of information available through the Home & Garden Information Center web site (https://extension.umd.edu/hgic) and social media platforms, we provide direct consultations via this Ask an Expert service (you can attach up to three photos and we'll send you an answer within 48 hours).

The UME office in Prince George's Co. has a Master Gardener program- https://extension.umd.edu/prince-georges-county/home-gardening/master-gardeners. Master Gardeners are trained, volunteer educators who operate plant clinics, assist school and community gardens, and teach classes in the community,

The Master Gardeners do not offer specific on-site tree consultations but they do have a Bay-Wise Landscape Management program that you may want to look into.