Become a Louisiana Master Gardener

Sara Shields  |  5/3/2017 12:41:37 PM

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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 local Master Gardener Program Coordinator 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 are evaluated on a case-by-case basis through discussion with the individual, local coordinator, and State Coordinator.

A volunteer in training must attend at least 80 percent of the prescribed hours of instruction. Once a trainee completes the instruction and examination phase, the individual gains the title of “Louisiana Master Gardener Apprentice.” From that point, the Intern has a maximum of one year to complete a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer service. Upon meeting the volunteer requirements, the apprentice earns the title of certified "Louisiana Master Gardener."

In order to retain the Louisiana Master Gardener title, individuals are required to complete a minimum of 20 volunteer service hours and six continuing education hours each year. Documentation requirements and validation of volunteer service and continuing education hours are under the supervision of the local Master Gardener Program Coordinator or individual designated by the coordinator.

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 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 training period. Class format differs by program, but most of the programs are held for three to six hours one or two days 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 local Master Gardener Program coordinator in collaboration with class instructors.

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.

Louisiana offers 27 parish-level Master Gardener programs with volunteer participation in 58 parishes. LMG trainings are offered at various times during the year and at various parish Extension offices across the state.


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.

The base fee for participation in the Louisiana Master Gardener 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 local Master Gardener Program coordinator and may vary from one parish to another depending on local situations.

Grant/LaSalle Master Gardener Program
Classes begin August 13, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.
Location of classes: Camp Grant Walker 4-H Educational Center, 3000 Highway 8 East, Pollock, LA
For more information or to sign up, please contact Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent domiciled in the Beauregard Extension Office, at 337-463-7006 or by emailing KHawkins@agcenter.lsu.edu.

CENLA Master Gardener Program (Grant and Avoyelles)
Classes begin Thursday, April 18, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.
Location of classes: DeWitt Livestock Facility, 8125 Highway 71 South, Dean Lee Research Station, Alexandria, LA
For more information or to sign up, please contact Keith Hawkins, County Agent, with the Beauregard Extension Office by emailing KHawkins@agcenter.lsu.edu.

Winn Parish Master Gardener Program
Tentatively scheduled to begin January 9, 2019. Contact the LSU AgCenter extension office to be placed on the waiting list!
For more information, contact Donny Moon, County Agent, at 318-628-4528.

Natchitoches/Sabine Master Gardener Training Program
Classes are proposed to meet weekly from 12-3:00 PM beginning January 9, 2019. The class location will rotate between Many and Natchitoches.
For more information or to sign up, please contact Randall Mallette, ANR Agent, at 318-357-2224 or by emailing RMallette@agcenter.lsu.edu.

Beauregard Master Gardener Program
Classes begin Thursday, January 3, 2019.
Location of classes: Sherriff’s Training Center, 412 Bolivar Bishop Drive, DeRidder, LA
For more information, contact Keith Hawkins, County Agent, Area Horticulture Agent domiciled in the Beauregard Extension Office, at 337-463-7006 or by emailing KHawkins@agcenter.lsu.edu.

Northeast Louisiana Master Gardener Program
Classes begin September 6, 2018. Each class meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. and generally run until 8:30 or 9:00 p.m., depending on the topic, with a break for refreshments. This training series is limited to 30 participants.
Location of classes: Ouachita Parish Extension Office in West Monroe.
For more information, contact Kerry Heafner, Horticulture Agent, at 318-323-2251 or emailing KHeafner@agcenter.lsu.edu.

Washington Parish Master Gardener Program
Classes begin August 27, 2018.
Location of classes: LSU AgCenter Office, 1104 B-Bene Street, Franklinton, LA
For more information, contact Henry Harrison, County Agent, at 985-839-7855.

North Central Master Gardener Program
Classes begin August 22, 2018 and are held at the Lincoln Parish Extension Office in Ruston, LA.
For more information or to sign up, please contact Gary Stockton, County Agent, at 318-251-5134 or by emailing GStockton@agcenter.lsu.edu.

Ascension Parish Master Gardener Program
Classes begin August 14, 2018 and run through the month of September. The trainings will be held Tuesdays from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. at the Gonzales Police Department on East Cornerview Street.
For more information contact Associate Extension Agent, Mariah Simoneaux, at MJSimoneaux@agcenter.lsu.edu or visit http://www.lsuagcenter.com/portals/our_offices/parishes/ascension/features/master_gardener

Lafayette Parish Master Gardener Program
Classes will begin on August 9, 2018 and end on November 15, 2018 for a total of 15 classes, including a field trip on a class day. Classes run from 8:45 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Location of classes: Ira Nelson Horticulture Center, 2206 Johnston St, Lafayette, LA 70503.
For more information on the program, contact Dan Devenport, Horticulture Agent, at 337-291-7090 or by emailing DDevenport@agcenter.lsu.edu.

Tangipahoa/Livingston Master Gardener Program
Classes will run August 7, 2018 through November 6, 2018. Submit applications by June 15, 2018
Most of the classes will be held at the Hammond Research Station.
For more information, contact Dr. Mary Helen Ferguson, Horticulture Agent, at 985-748-5462 (Amite) or 225-686-3020 (Livingston). Dr. Ferguson may also be reached by emailing mhferguson@agcenter.lsu.edu.

St. Tammany Louisiana Master Gardener Program
Classes begin August 2, 2018 and go through October 18, 2018.
Location of class meetings: St. Tammany Extension Office on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon.
For more information on the program, contact Will Afton, Horticulture Agent, at 985-875-2635 or by emailing WAfton@agcenter.lsu.edu.

East Baton Rouge Master Gardener Program
Classes begin July 10, 2018 – September 13, 2018. Classes will begin at 9:00 a.m. and run until approximately 1:00 p.m.
For more information, contact Lee Rouse, Horticulture Agent, by calling 225-578-2413 or emailing LRouse@agcenter.lsu.edu.

Southwest Louisiana Master Gardener Program (Calcasieu, Cameron, and Jeff Davis)
Classes begin on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 and will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 17 class sessions.
For more information, contact Robert Turley, Horticulture Agent, by calling 337-721-4030, ext. 6502 or emailing RTurley@agcenter.lsu.edu.

MGGNO Master Gardener Program (Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, and St. Bernard Parishes)
Classes run from June 13, 2018 through August 8, 2018; weekly labs will be held Wednesday evenings beginning June 13, 2018 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Location of meetings: New Orleans Botanical Garden’s Garden Study Center located in City Park
For more information, please contact the MGGNO Program Coordinators, Anna Timmerman (ATimmerman@agcenter.lsu.edu) or Dr. Joe Willis (JWillis@agcenter.lsu.edu).

Piney Hills Master Gardener Program (Webster, Claiborne, and Bienville)
Classes will run on Thursday evenings from May 31, 2018 – August 18, 2018. Classes will begin at 6:00 p.m.
Location of classes: Webster Parish Extension Office, Minden, LA
For more information, please contact the Webster Parish Extension Office at 318-371-1371.

Northeast Louisiana Master Gardener Program
Classes begin March 1, 2018.
Location of classes: Ouachita Parish Extension Office in West Monroe.
For more information, contact Kerry Heafner, Horticulture Agent, at 318-323-2251 or emailing KHeafner@agcenter.lsu.edu.

River Ridge Master Gardeners (East Carroll, Madison, and West Carroll Parishes)
Classes begin February 19, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.
Location of classes: Extension Office in Oak Grove.
For more information or to sign up, please contact Donna Lee, County Agent, at 318-559-1459 or by emailing DRLee@agcenter.lsu.edu.

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