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Richard E. Durham and Candace Harker

The Consumer Horticulture Community of Practice (CHCoP), responsible for the Gardens, Lawns, and Landscapes section of eXtension, has historically answered over 35% of the questions submitted to “Ask an Expert” (AaE)—the eXtension online, e-mail based question and answer system. Extension Master Gardener (EMG) volunteers were initially recruited to help answer questions and were responsible for resolving over 50% of the horticulture-tagged questions in 2008. With the number of questions related to horticulture nearly doubling on an annual basis, there was concern that EMGs alone would not be able to respond to all the questions. However, as eXtension has become more institutionalized in the land-grant system, county- and state-level extension staff have been encouraged to be involved in AaE. While EMG volunteers continue to play a vital role in answering questions, state extension specialists, and more so, county extension staff, are answering questions as well. This balanced approach seems more sustainable and at least 75% of questions are now being answered by an expert in the same state where the question originated.