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 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 30 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.

St. Tammany Master Gardener Program
Classes tentatively begin August 2020.
For more information or to sign up, please contact Will Afton at 985-875-2635 or by emailing WAfton@agcenter.lsu.edu.

Grant/LaSalle Master Gardener Program
Classes tentatively begin August 2020.
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.

Ascension Parish Master Gardener Program
Classes tentatively set for late summer 2020.
For more information contact Associate Extension Agent, Mariah Simoneaux, at MJSimoneaux@agcenter.lsu.eduor visit Ascension Master Gardener.

Tangipahoa Parish Master Gardener Program
Classes tentatively begin late summer 2020.
For more information, contact Dr. Mary Helen Ferguson, Horticulture Agent, at mhferguson@agcenter.lsu.edu, 985-277-1850, or 985-839-7855. Please submit an application for the MGP class. (Available here: If you know that you’re interested, so that Mary Helen will have on file a record of your interest and days of the week that you’re available.)

Washington Parish Master Gardener Program
Classes tentatively begin late summer 2020.
For more information, contact Dr. Mary Helen Ferguson, Horticulture Agent, at mhferguson@agcenter.lsu.edu, 985-839-7855, or 985-277-1850. Please submit an application available for the MGP class if you know that you’re interested, so that Mary Helen will have on file a record of your interest and days of the week that you’re available.

MGGNO Master Gardener Program (Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, and St. Bernard Parishes)
Classes tentatively set for June - August 2020.
Applications will be available April 1 - May 1 from www.mggno.com
For more information, please contact the MGGNO Program Coordinators by emailing gnogardening@agcenter.lsu.edu.

Southwest Louisiana Master Gardener Program (Calcasieu, Cameron, Jeff Davis, and Evangeline)
Classes set to begin Tuesday, June 23, 2020.
For more information, contact Robert Turley, Horticulture Agent, by calling 337-721-4030, ext. 6502 or emailing RTurley@agcenter.lsu.edu.

CENLA Master Gardener Program (Grant and Avoyelles)
Classes begin April 2020.
For more information or to sign up, please contact Keith Hawkins at KHawkins@agcenter.lsu.edu or Dr. Michael Polozola at MPolozola@agcenter.lsu.edu.

Winn Parish Master Gardener Program
Classes begin mid-March 2020.
For more information or to sign up, please contact Donny Moon at 318-628-4528.

La-Terre Master Gardener Program
Classes will begin Tuesday, March 3, 2020 and will be held every Tuesday and Thursday in March from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM.
For more information or to sign up, please contact Barton Joffrion at 985-873-6495 or at bjoffrion@agcenter.lsu.edu.

Northwest Louisiana Master Gardener Program (Bossier, Caddo, Red River, and DeSoto)
Classes begin January 23, 2020 and will be held every Thursday for 10 weeks. Classes are scheduled for 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM, with a 30-minute lunch break between class and lab.
For more information or to submit your name for the 2021 class, please contact Mark Wilson at MAWilson@agcenter.lsu.edu or call 318-698-0010.

Beauregard Master Gardener Program
Classes begin January 2020. 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.

5/3/2017 12:41:37 PM
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