For gardeners, landscapers and horticulturists, the Internet has proved
to be a boon we couldn't have imagined a few years ago. For us it's
not so much an Information Highway as a vast, lush Botanical Garden,
filled with every kind of information and reference we could possibly
Today, I want to highlight some Web sites that you might find
particularly helpful. They might be brand new or they might be old
friends that are already firmly established in your Favorites file.
Either way, I hope you'll take a look at these sites as they can
prove to be invaluable resources when you need plant-related
As you know, I invite questions from readers who can reach me at
firstname.lastname@example.org and I do my best to answer those questions based
on my own experience. However, there are times when I look to the
Internet to investigate a particularly tricky plant problem, either one
of my own or one posed by a reader. Even the best doctors have a
library of reference books; we plant lovers shouldn't feel bashful
about seeking helpful information either!
As this site says on its home page: "The PLANTS Database provides
standardized information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts,
hornworts and lichens of the U.S. and its territories."
You can see why many people regard this site as THE database for
plants. For example, here you can download a list of plants native to
your state. Heck, you can even download a complete plants checklist
(warning: it's a big list). There is a gallery 0f 30,000+ plant
images and you can submit your own photos to the gallery.
While you're there, you can read about endangered plants or wetland
plants in your region, or learn more about noxious and invasive plants.
This is a treasure trove of plant information and well worth
One of the best places you can turn to for expert help and advice is an
Extension Service. Go to this Web site, also maintained by the United
States Department of Agriculture, and you are only a few clicks away
from finding someone to answer your questions.
Technically, this site is the home of Cooperative State Research,
Education & Extension Service (CSREES). Here you can browse a lot of
land-related topics. But when you need help, click on the link to
"Local Extension Office." This will take you to a map of the USA
from which you click on your state. Once you see the state map, click
on your county and you'll see the complete contact information you
Often a quick phone call will answer your question, or they can direct
you to a specific resource. I've always found the people at Extension
Services to be very happy to offer help and advice.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) hosts this Web site
that is a "must see" if you're thinking of planting some trees on
your land but aren't quite sure where to start.
You'll find unbiased answers to a lot of questions you might have
about what type of trees to select, issues to consider about placement
before you plant and how to maintain healthy trees.
backyard conservation topics such as ponds and backyard wetlands, composting,
mulching, terracing, wildlife habitat and pest management.
Okay, I have to confess that this is the Web site that I host. I'm
including it here because you can click on direct links to the other
sites I've mentioned when you find this column under the Plant Man
My objective with landsteward.org is make it a "resource of
resources" for anyone needing information about trees, shrubs or
anything relating to gardens and landscaping. Visitors can find an
extensive library of plant-related articles, tips and hundreds of links
to other Web sites.
I'll point you in the direction of additional helpful Internet sites
in a future column.
The Plant Man is here to help. Send questions about trees, shrubs and
landscaping to email@example.com. For resources and additional
information, or to subscribe to Steve's free weekly e-mailed
newsletter, go to www.landsteward.org
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