Livingston County Master Gardener Help Desk Open

Pontiac, Ill. – New gardeners and everyone discovering landscape issues have a local source of assistance. Master Gardeners can help find answers to perennial questions like “What’s wrong with my tree?” or “How do I grow the best tomatoes?” Livingston County Master Gardener Help Desk will be open from 9 a.m. to noon every Thursday, beginning May 6, to help you with your landscaping woes.


Master Gardeners are trained by university specialists, and as part of their service to the community they want to make everyone more successful gardeners.

The public can reach Master Gardeners in three ways:

  • Bring your questions and/or plant samples you have to the Livingston County Extension Office. Samples should be enclosed in a plastic bag or container and should be fresh to obtain a good diagnosis. The Extension office is located at 1412 S. Locust Street, Pontiac. Masks and social distancing are required.
  • Call the Extension office and leave a message for the Master Gardeners at 815-844-3622. They will return your call as soon as possible.
  • Email the Master Gardeners at


scuffle hoe

Master Gardeners offer a few tips for this gardening season:

  • Start small! Transforming the whole back yard may be the goal, but start with some outdoor pots, a corner garden, or additions to existing landscaping.
  • Before you plant, know how you will attack the weeds competing with your plants. Try a scuffle hoe or Dutch garden hoe, which allow you to uproot small weed seedlings without bending over. If weeds get too big, mow or weed whack before they flower and seed. Weed early and weed often!
  • Check your garden daily. Be diligent. Pay attention to the plants. Have fun watching them grow and caring for them. Know that summer watering is mandatory as plants grow and the temperatures rise.
  • Start with easy to grow vegetables like eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, leafy greens, and herbs. Start with easy-to-grow annuals like dragon wing begonias, zinnias, sweet alyssum, or marigolds.
  • If you want to plant a new tree or shrub, go native!                                      

Photo Caption: As you are getting ready to deal with spring planting, and care for flowers – remember your local Livingston County Master Gardeners as a resource for your questions. (University of Illinois Extension)                                                                    

SOURCE: Kelly Allsup, Horticulture Educator, Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties.

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.