Grow with us! Become a U of M Extension Master Gardener
Who are Master Gardeners?
Master Gardeners are from all walks of life and volunteer on behalf of their university. They are eager to share best practices in gardening with people in their community that promote healthy landscapes, healthy foods, and healthy lives. They have completed a university-taught core course and contributed a certain number of hours to teaching research-based horticulture practices in their communities.
Important dates and deadlines
January 1 - December 31: Extension Master Gardener program year
October 1: Deadline for application to local/county program
Tuesday before Thanksgiving: Deadline for submission of background check data
December 1: Deadline for EMG Core Course registration
Steps to becoming an Extension Master Gardener
1. Be selected by your local county program for a Master Gardener internship
- Contact your local county program and request an internship application packet.
- Complete and submit the application. Applications are due by October 1.
- Be selected for an interview.
- Submit and pass a background check (online). (Note: All Master Gardener volunteers must have a recurring background check every three years.)
- Receive notification that background check has cleared, then register for core course and pay the $305 fee (includes $275 course and materials fee and $30 background check fee). Registration is due by December 1.
2. Complete the Extension Master Gardener core course
- 48-hours home horticulture education, offered annually, January – April.
- Face-to-face and online options for general content delivery. All students must complete online quizzes for each topic module.
- REQUIRED: Active email address and reliable Internet access.
- Taught by Extension educators and faculty at the U of M Landscape Arboretum.
- Topics: Extension & the Master Gardener program, critical thinking and navigating culture, soils, entomology, botany, diagnostics, trees & shrubs, herbaceous plants, lawn care, plant pathology, weeds, wildlife, integrated pest management, vegetables, fruits.
3. Share your knowledge: volunteer 50 hours
- Volunteer on projects and events that deliver horticulture education and information to the public.
- Volunteer – and learn! - alongside experienced Extension Master Gardener volunteers.
- Report your volunteer hours online by December 31.
- Individuals who drop out of the internship before fulfilling the educational and volunteering requirements will be required to pay an additional $300.
When your internship is completed, you'll start the next calendar year as an active University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener in your community.
5. Stay involved
To maintain your active Extension Master Gardener volunteer status, you will complete at least 25 hours of volunteer time and the required continuing education hours per year. Continuing education hours vary from 5 – 12 hours depending on county.
Grow with us!
Questions? Contact your local Extension office