AnswerLink: Help for landscape, lawn & garden questions

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— You just moved into a new house and are excited about delving into that new landscaping plan. You want to start with a tree near the back porch.

Suddenly it occurs to you that you don't have the slightest idea where or how the tree should be planted to give it its greatest chance at healthy growth and to provide shade just where you want it. Should it be placed near the deck, away from the house, near the back or middle of the yard? How deep should the hole be? Does it need fertilizer or peat moss, or both, or should you add something else? Should the tree be staked or tied to poles? How big it will get and how should you allow for that growth?

The garden shop where you bought the tree is closed. The Cooperative Extension office is closed. Your neighbors are new to this landscaping business as well and they don't know how to plant it either. What do you do? Go to AnswerLink: www.answerlink.info.

AnswerLink is a Web-based, frequently-asked-question system that links to the Cooperative Extension's online resources. It is a way for you to search for answers or ask questions whenever you need information and also when Extension staff members are not readily available. AnswerLink provides answers to thousands of questions about a wide range of topics (including how to plant a tree).

AnswerLink is a new way for Steamboat residents to access Cooperative Extension information online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

You can self-search information about gardening and landscaping, insects and pests, water conservation, food safety, nutrition, healthy eating, high-altitude cooking, personal finances, household information, youth development, parenting and family relationships, food production, agricultural issues, community resources, managing small acreages and ranchettes, animals, crops, biotechnology, forestry, natural resources and many other topics.

In addition to answering general questions about the above topics, AnswerLink can help answer questions about critical, current issues, such as the drought or food safety concerns.

Search the answer database by topic areas and keywords, or if your topic is not covered, you can ask a question, such as:

n What is the proper way to plant a tree?

n How can I reduce water use in my garden?

n When is the best time to prune a rose bush?

n What can I do to get my poinsettia to bloom again?

n How do I get rid of whiteflies in my greenhouse?

n What kind of fertilizer do houseplants need?

AnswerLink has thousands of questions with answers, many pointing to fact sheets, scripts, columns, news releases and other Web sites for more information. When you submit a new question, the site has a built-in routing system that will forward your question to an appropriate expert for a response. Cooperative Extension specialists and agents will be answering questions and reviewing new information to post to the site.

AnswerLink: Information for the speed of life.

C.J. Mucklow is the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Agent for Routt County. Questions for Master Gardeners? Call 879-0825 or e-mail: gardeners@co.routt.co.us.

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