Throughout the year, the OSU Extension Office receives questions about home gardening, landscaping, tree planting or disease, soil sampling, flower growing, insects, and wildlife control, to name a few. With the Paulding County Master Gardener hotline taking on a different look in 2020, Extension Educator, Sarah Noggle, felt it would be essential to help our homeowners and community members unpack all the different resources available via Ohio State University Extension as well as the State Master Gardener Volunteer website. Noggle wanted a personal touch to help with the questions coming into the county, so she felt a blog would be a great fit. The new blog is located at the website
“Sometimes it’s hard to find answers to these type questions or where to call. Today we are more tech-savvy than even five years ago, and I know that people take pictures on their phones. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a homeowner not knowing how to get the pictures to me, whether via email or text. Additionally, some of these questions are similar and come in waves. Last week, I had many calls about black spots on Maple Trees,” shared Noggle. “Googling questions doesn’t always yield correct or, unfortunately, accurate answers. The OSU Extension Office is still operating; however, it is by appointment only, so when people want instant answers, they can’t just walk directly in the office and receive service.”
The new blog is accomplishing many things. It brings some of the county’s horticulture and natural resource questions to a quick resource for consumers to find easily via a blog post. Sometimes these are directly written by Noggle, one of the county’s Master Gardener Volunteers, and other times they are coming from a close county educator or one of our State Specialists in Extension. Consumers can choose to subscribe to the blog and receive a weekly email to their inbox. The subscription button is located in the bottom right-hand corner of the website. The blog also has a form to help upload your questions and pictures to better diagnose horticulture problems affecting the consumer. This link is located at https://u.osu.edu/pauldingmgv/mgv-hotline/. Additionally, Noggle is sharing upcoming educational programs that are offered in-person or virtually via the blog.
“Many times, when it comes to home horticulture hotline questions, it is playing phone tag with consumers, because I need more information to help diagnose their questions. The back and forth can sometimes delay the process of getting to the bottom of the problem. Some weeks, I only have a few phone calls, and other weeks I receive over twenty calls. The new form on the blog is user friendly and allows you to upload multiple photos. Sometimes the
voicemail or email I receive is, ‘what is wrong with my tree? There are black spots on the leaves,” shared Noggle.
“I have to start by reaching the person and asking what type of tree it is, how old the tree is, have you done anything different this year to the tree to begin to answer the questions. This process can be streamlined by answering the questions on the form to the best of your ability, first.”
These questions are many times routed to our trained Master Gardener Volunteers in the county. We will still try to answer questions if you don’t answer all the questions on the online form or if you call the office. However, it saves time by answering as many of the questions as possible and uploading pictures on the form. Additionally, the blog posts have a share button via email, Facebook, and Twitter if you want to share the information with your family and
For more detailed information about Agriculture, Natural Resources, 4-H, SNAP-Ed programming, or Water Quality programs, visit the Paulding County Extension website at www.paulding.osu.edu or the OSU Extension Paulding County Facebook page.
For additional information on any agriculture or horticulture topic, contact Sarah Noggle, Paulding County Extension Educator, Agriculture, and Natural Resources, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to COVID-19, individuals cannot walk in the OSU Extension Office at 503 Fairground Drive, Paulding, without an appointment. However, you can still reach any person in the Extension Office by calling 419-399-8225.