Where can you ask gardening questions?

From food safety to insect identification, Ask Extension is an online tool that allows Michigan State University experts answer the public’s questions.

What is Ask Extension?

Ask Extension is an online tool that allows Michigan State University Extension experts to answer questions submitted by the public. It is also an excellent library of previously asked questions. You can search for these questions in the public database found at https://ask2.extension.org/. If your question hasn’t been answered, you can ask a question at Ask Extension

Who answers the questions?

Our experts include Extension employees, university staff, and trained volunteers. We answer questions relating to lawns, gardening, agriculture, food safety/preservation, nutrition, natural resources, community development, youth programming, and more. Research-based information is provided to help residents improve their quality of life, family, garden, business, and community.

Here are some tricks that will help you get the best possible answer.

How to ask good questions

Answering your questions is what Ask Extension is for!  This article will guide you through submitting your question along with essential details that help our experts give you an accurate answer.

Here are a few tips and tricks when submitting your Ask Extension questions that will help you and the responder:

  • Focus on one topic per submission.
    • Ask Extension allows questions to be forwarded to experts who are well versed in a particular topic. Someone great at identifying insects may not be as equipped to diagnose a tree disease. Focusing on one topic per submission makes it easier to filter these questions and deliver helpful answers.  
  • List out your questions.
    • A bulleted list of questions is more straightforward than a paragraph with the questions embedded.
    • Please understand that some questions might be outside the scope of Ask Extension or too complex to answer remotely.
  • Include pictures!
    • You can include up to three pictures. 

We ask that clients do not include personally identifiable information such as your name, address or phone number when asking a question.

Example pictures

When submitting a plant, plant pest, or insect question, it is helpful to include different views. The best pictures are clear and well lit. Below are examples of a plant with pest damage. These show the whole plant, injury and pest.

Example photos of plants with pest damage.
An ideal collection of photos to submit with a question. These include photos of the entire plant, up close image of leaf damage and pest. Photos by Isabel Branstrom, MSU Extension.

Additional takeaways

There are questions we can’t answer, such as:

  • Mushroom identification.
  • Personal medical advice.
  • Some plant and insect questions, especially those that require sending samples to MSU Plant & Pest Diagnostics.

Answers that require a specialist such as an arborist to visit your home.

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