What Is Consumer Horticulture?

— Written By and last updated by Elisabeth Purser
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Horticulture AgentAs the Horticulture Extension Agent for Union County, I am responsible for the area called Consumer Horticulture. So, what exactly does that mean? Well, it means I work with consumers for the most part! Those of you who garden and grow everything from houseplants to fruits and vegetables and ornamental trees and shrubs are my customers. I am responsible for training all of our new Extension Master Gardener Volunteers each year and overseeing the community programs they are involved in. One piece of my job that is more on the commercial side is that I work with landscapers and pesticide applicators to provide initial training and needed training for continuing education for them to maintain their licenses.

I am still surprised by the number of folks that I encounter that do not know about Cooperative Extension and the services we offer. We are funded by your tax dollars at the federal, state, and local levels (that where cooperative comes from), so you should use our services. We have several program areas that you may be interested in – Agriculture, Urban Forestry, 4-H, Livestock, Family and Consumer Science, Local Foods, and Community Development. 

Composting ClassSo as a consumer Horticulture Extension Agent, how can I help you? Do you need to identify an insect, disease, or weed? Or maybe you just moved into a new home and have plants in the landscape that you need to identify. Are you having problems with your lawn? Or maybe you need a recommendation for plants for a screening. This is where I can help you as the consumer. You can call or email me with your questions at 704-283-3729 or dddillio@ncsu.edu. You can make an appointment to bring samples into my office or you can email me photos for identification and diagnosis. The Extension Master Gardeners can also answer your questions via their Growline where you can also call or email with questions. Their contact is 704-283-3822 or ucmgwebsite@gmail.com.