Plants & Gardens Blog

Questions? Ask the Gardener’s Help Line

Do you have a burning question about pruning or plant identification? Are you wondering about watering? During Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s closure, library staff is still available to answer your horticulture questions through the Gardener’s Help Line.

Typical questions involve home gardening concerns like seasonal tasks, pests, and diseases, says Kathy Crosby, BBG’s head librarian. “People don't usually call or write us to tell us how wonderful their plants or gardens are doing, usually the opposite,” she says, though occasionally people do just want to share something beautiful. The staff has also assisted people researching different aspects of gardening history.

During the closure, the Help Line will be active via email at [email protected]. When writing, please keep your question as straightforward as possible and include your phone number in your email query for a more timely response.

Other advice:

  • Identify your question category: pests and diseases, culture and propagation, plant identification, etc.
  • Identify the class of plant: tree, shrub, perennial, annual, etc.
  • Describe the problem. If you're concerned about an insect, for example, note the appearance of the pest and where you have seen it (on leaves, stems, in the soil), as well as the damage it is doing.


  • Ruth Eiss August 13, 2022

    Our evergreen shrubs are dying (most of them). Our landlord claims its because dogs pee on them, thereby exempting himself from removing and replacing them. Does pee kill evergreens?

  • Hilppa Gioia July 26, 2022

    Our magnolia tree’s bark is coming off in some places exposing dark dry tree under. It is a double tree and is huge…lost its bloom due to frost but is blooming here and there right now.

  • Margery Cornwell May 17, 2022

    How do I find a trustworthy arborist who can diagnose pests in the bark of my elm tree?

  • etta brummel December 21, 2021

    Do you have a phone number so I can ask questions by phone?

  • Marshall Butt July 25, 2021

    A pest chewed the leaves of my Cercis Canadiensis Redbud tree. The round, smooth-edge holes look like snail bites, yet appear on upper leaves. What’s your best guess and how can I prevent this?

  • Lawana Johnson July 22, 2021

    I had sweet potatoes that began sprouting, so I planted them into a large planter. I live in an apartment so my question is…can I separate the vines and put them into smaller pots, preferably hanging pots?

Submit a Comment

Please keep your comments relevant to this article. Comments are moderated and will be posted after BBG staff review. Your email address is required; it will not be displayed, but may be needed to confirm your comments.

Image, top of page: Alvina Lai