Louisiana Master Gardener Program
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Become a Louisiana Master Gardener

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Master Gardeners are members of the local community who take an active interest in their lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers and gardens. They are enthusiastic, willing to learn and help others, and able to communicate with diverse groups of people.

What really sets Master Gardeners apart from other home gardeners is their special training in horticulture. In exchange for their training, people who become Master Gardeners contribute time as volunteers, working through their parish Extension agent to provide horticulture-related information to their communities.

Any Louisiana resident with an interest in horticulture and a desire to volunteer for community service may apply to the Master Gardener Training Program. (Master Gardeners moving from other states must take the Louisiana training.)

In the first year, Master Gardeners are required to complete 40-50 hours of intensive, practical horticulture training and contribute 40 hours of volunteer service. In subsequent years, to remain a Certified Master Gardener, a minimum of 20 hours of LSU AgCenter-sponsored volunteer service, in addition to 6 hours of continuing education, is required.

The Louisiana Master Gardener training program provides a balanced, integrated, practical course in gardening. Special topics, based on Louisiana gardening needs, are part of the curriculum and involve a balance of lecture and hands-on activities. The training is conducted over a two-to-three-month period with instruction provided by LSU AgCenter Extension faculty and other horticulture experts.

Primary topics covered in the training include:

  • Soils and Plant Nutrition
  • Basic Botany and Plant Propagation
  • Basic Plant Pathology and Entomology
  • Vegetable Gardening
  • Fruit Culture
  • Woody Ornamentals
  • Annuals and Perennials
  • Lawn Management and Weeds
  • Environmental Horticulture
  • Diagnostics/Problem Solving

Classroom participation must include 80 percent attendance during the two-to-three-month training period. Classes are usually three to six hours one day per week and generally conducted at a parish Extension office. Upon completion of the formal coursework, participants are required to satisfactorily pass a comprehensive examination on the materials covered.

To graduate as a Master Gardener, each trainee must pass a final examination. Examinations are prepared by the parish Extension agent coordinator in collaboration with class instructors. The test is typically distributed to trainees at the next-to-last class, completed at home and reviewed at the final class session.

Examinations are open-book and designed to help a trainee’s ability to retrieve information from the Master Gardener handbook and other horticultural resources.

A score of 70 percent or higher is needed to pass.

The fee for participation in the Louisiana Master Gardener training program is $150.

This amount covers costs for the training manual, name badge, certificate and supporting educational materials.

Additional overhead cost may be included as determined by the Extension agent and may vary from one parish to another depending on local situations.

Louisiana offers 26 parish-level Master Gardener programs with volunteer participation in 53 parishes. LMG trainings are offered at various times during the year and at various parish Extension offices across the state.

To request information about the next Master Gardener training class and an application, please contact your parish Extension office.

For a listing of parishes that currently participate in the Louisiana Master Gardener training program, the Extension office phone number and the parish agent coordinator, please visit the Parish LMG Programs section of the LMG website.

If your parish does not have a Master Gardener program, then consider contacting a parish Extension office near you that offers the Master Gardener training program.

To help you decide if you should apply to be a Master Gardener, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I want to learn more about the culture and maintenance of many types of plants?
  • Am I eager to participate in a practical and intense training program?
  • Do I look forward to sharing my knowledge with people in my community?
  • Do I have enough time to attend training and to complete the volunteer service?

If you answered yes to these questions, the Master Gardener program could be for you.

Last Updated: 11/6/2015 3:05:29 PM
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