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AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – The Alabama Cooperative Extension System has the privilege of assisting Alabamians through a range of topics from agriculture to home life. The eight topics highlighted on the Extension website provide readily available, research-based information to farmers, families, businesspeople and gardeners across the state.

One category in particular, Lawn and Garden, provides detailed information on all things from the front curb to the backyard fence. Rudy Pacumbaba and Kerry Smith, co-leaders of the home grounds, gardens and home pests team, collaborate to educate millions on the significance, practicality and importance of safety, maintenance and cultivation at home.

What is Home Grounds, Gardens and Home Pests?

For those who may be unfamiliar with the home grounds team, it covers nearly everything an individual can encounter outdoors.

“Home grounds programs cover a wide range of topics that support residential gardeners – from shade trees to veggies, good bugs and bad bugs, backyard wildlife and protecting water quality,” Smith said.

These practical, yet informative topics from specialists and agents keep Alabama residents and their yards afloat. Even for site-specific questions, agents and specialists are here to help.

“Our urban unit of home grounds addresses questions and educational topics related to urban agriculture, small-farm production operations, within Alabama’s metropolitan regions,” Pacumbaba said. “We are Alabama’s gardening, landscaping and urban ag experts.”

Home grounds isn’t limited to lawn and garden care; there are research applications to be made in life all around us.

“Think about city parks, retail landscapes, outdoor classrooms at schools, community gardens or even tomatoes on your patio,” Smith said. “Plants connect people on a daily basis.”

Who You Gonna Call?

Whether it’s a house plant, an entire garden or a struggling shrub, the team is there to lend a shovel—and a helping hand.

“My favorite part of my job is assisting with the plant to people connection every day,” Smith said. “Clients call on us because they care about plants and understand they need to know more about their plants and landscapes.”

The bond from plant to person is special, but the bond from home grounds agent to client is a cherished one.

“There’s always a new idea that fuels our love of horticulture and the work of Extension,” Smith said. “We inspire and support each other.”

All 23 agents and 2,000 Extension Master Gardener volunteers in the home grounds community have a deep devotion to Alabama horticulture and one another.

“Home grounds is so special thanks to the wonderful group of professionals I work with,” Pacumbaba said.

For any backyard, bug or plant inquires, make sure to reach out to the Alabama Extension Home Grounds team. Gardeners can even call the Master Gardener Helpline at 877-252-4769.

More Information

To learn more about home grounds, gardens and home pests, the Alabama Extension website at www.aces.edu and click on the “Lawn & Garden” tab.

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