Introducing Linda Chalker-Scott

I’m an associate professor in the department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Washington State University.  I’m also an Extension Specialist in Urban Horticulture, meaning that I have a global classroom rather than one physically located on a college campus.  I’m trained as a woody plant physiologist and I apply this knowledge to understanding how trees and shrubs function in urban environments.  This is a fancy way of saying I enjoy diagnosing landscape failures – sort of a Horticultural CSI thing.

I’m a native Washingtonian, but I spent my academic life at Oregon State University and then moved to Buffalo for my first university position.  I moved back to Seattle in 1997 and worked at University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture.  In 2001 we were fire-bombed by ecoterrorists (and yes, the irony of the greenest center on campus being targeted by ecoterrorists is not lost on me) and I lost my ability to do lab work.  During this time I developed a more applied research program and in 2004 I began my Extension position with WSU.

Jeff and I have never actually met, but we’ve been chatting via internet for some time.  Apparently he manages his time better than I, since he has the ability to spearhead this blog on top of everything else he does.  I know I’m looking forward to this new venue for discussing the science behind America’s favorite outdoor activity (assuming that’s still gardening and not Ultimate Frisbee or frog licking).

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Linda Chalker-Scott

Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott has a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Oregon State University and is an ISA certified arborist and an ASCA consulting arborist. She is WSU’s Extension Urban Horticulturist and a Professor in the Department of Horticulture, and holds two affiliate associate professor positions at University of Washington. She conducts research in applied plant and soil sciences, publishing the results in scientific articles and university Extension fact sheets. Linda also is the award-winning author of five books: the horticultural myth-busting The Informed Gardener (2008) and The Informed Gardener Blooms Again (2010) from the University of Washington Press and Sustainable Landscapes and Gardens: Good Science – Practical Application (2009) from GFG Publishing, Inc., and How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do from Timber Press (2015). Her latest effort is an update of Art Kruckeberg’s Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest from UW Press (2019). In 2018 Linda was featured in a video series – The Science of Gardening – produced by The Great Courses. She also is one of the Garden Professors – a group of academic colleagues who educate and entertain through their blog and Facebook pages. Linda’s contribution to gardeners was recognized in 2017 by the Association for Garden Communicators as the first recipient of their Cynthia Westcott Scientific Writing Award. "The Garden Professors" Facebook page - "The Garden Professors" Facebook group - Books:

13 thoughts on “Introducing Linda Chalker-Scott”

  1. In the planning of our Chelan County Master Gardener Demonstration Garden we've been researching the topic of treated vs. non-treated lumber for raised beds intended for vegetables. Is there a definitive recent answer to using treated lumber or non-treated lumber?

  2. Jennifer, I'll do my Wednesday post on that question, ok? I assume you are talking about the new lumber, not the CCA stuff.

  3. Break a leg on your May 14 talk at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden. I'd be there if I were in town since we are friends of Dr. Licht and that fabulous plant "zoo" where each of the gardeners cares for 200 or more species!

    Best for a nice turnout,
    Lisa Marini Finerty

  4. I have had soil tests done and my organic content is extremely high, but have been having trouble all year starting seeds in the garden. Also lower leaves have been turning brown and yellow on many plants. I am looking to have a soils specialist visit and test my soil for perhaps some bugs/nematodes???Do you know any that I could contact?

  5. I heard your Portland Garden Club lecture was great and i was out of town. Any way I can read more of what you said or meet you for lunch in Portland? I work near the club. 5032761298

  6. Paula, if you email me at lindacs @ I can direct you to a likely source of help. And Marcia, same thing – drop me an email and I can send you the notes from the talk and maybe at some point we'll connect on one of my trips to Oregon.

  7. Greetings Linda: from Tom Kelly, Portland,Or. I am a senior, not real good on a computer, prefer a telephone! :-)503-281-7117.
    I am a new Palm Grower, rolled out late spring 2012. I realize I have much to learn, but am looking for help and answers from some folks more knowledgable, than myself. I have a network of growers, and we all grow, experiment and sell both retail & wholesale cold hardy palms. I left a message at your extension office, for subscription info to the Garden Professors. I just received this info from Bananas,org and got real excited, seeing four of you, putting this blog together. I want to know how or if it is possible to create a cross between a cold hardy palm and date palm; and a cold hardy palm and a coconut palm?

    Stay Safe, God Blessings to you in your work.

    Sincerely, Tom Kelly, (personal email,Law Enforcement volunteer Chaplain!

  8. Just read your article on the myth about Vitamin B in promoting root growth in cuttings. Does commercial rooting hormone powder available to the home gardener have a limited shelf life (if so, how long is it?) and is it temperature sensitive? I had a much higher percentage of cuttings developing calluses last year and wonder if that may be due to the age of rooting hormone?

    1. Frieda, rooting hormones are relatively complicated organic molecules that will break down over time. So yes, I’d be sure to check the expiration date (if there is one) on the bottle and keep it in a cool dark environment for maximum shelf life.

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