Master Gardener Program FAQs

What is the Master Gardener program?

The Master Gardener Program was first started by Cooperative Extension in the State of Washington in 1972 and has been operating in northern Nevada since 1976. It grew out of a need to meet an enormous increase in requests from home gardeners for horticultural information.

Master Gardeners are volunteers who have been trained in the finer points of gardening to improve their own knowledge and to share it with others. Master Gardeners provide free, research-based horticulture information to Nevadans. As volunteers, Master Gardeners contribute 30 hours per year in a variety of projects, including answering telephone inquiries, conducting plant clinics, performing soil tests, staffing booths at fairs and home shows and consulting at school and community gardens.

Why should I become a Master Gardener volunteer?

Around the country, Master Gardeners have become a vital part of Cooperative Extension’s ability to provide consumers with up-to-date, reliable information. Master Gardening has also become a fun and useful volunteer activity, which has given its participants a sense of community spirit, accomplishment and intellectual stimulation. Master Gardeners are committed to improving themselves, their community and their environment by participating in horticulture educational activities.  They are leaders in environmental stewardship.

Who conducts the Master Gardener training?

Classes are taught by horticulturists and specialists from the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and the Nevada Department of Agriculture.  The training does not earn university credits.

What do Master Gardeners learn?

Training covers a wide range of gardening topics including:

  • Basic botany
  • Soils and composting
  • Identification and control of insects, diseases and weeds
  • Diagnosing plant problems
  • Appropriate water use
  • Lawn and tree care
  • Pruning techniques
  • Edible gardening
  • Water-efficient landscape design

How much class time is involved?

Each class is about three hours long. The course includes over 60 hours education, spread over 10-12 weeks.

How much does it cost?

Fees vary based on educational material used

There are class pathways  associated with the Washoe County Master Gardener Program. 

  1. The Home Horticulture Certificate Program.
  2. Additional instruction for Master Gardener training. 

Total Cost Includes: books, handouts, refreshments, potluck meetings, appreciation banquet, advanced Master Gardener training and supplies, technology fees, program supplies, fingerprinting, awards, certificates, name badge, tote bag, t-shirt, and reusable water bottle.

When and where are classes?

Classes are offered weekday afternoons in fall 2020 in Reno. The program dates are as follows:


  • August 18, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm (Home Horticulture Certificate Program)


  • September 29th, Tuesdays and Thursdays form 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm (Additional Master Gardener Training Classes)

Contact Rachel McClure at 775-336-0274 or for information on the next available class.

How do I get involved?

To put your name on the Master Gardener interest list, you may either fill out this form. Everyone on the interest list will be contacted as we announce upcoming classes and open them up for enrollment.

Sign up for the 2020 Home Horticulture Certificate Program*.  More information coming soon. 

*Completing and passing the Home Horticulture Certificate Program is a new requirement for those interested in the Master Gardener Volunteer Program.

Steps for becoming a Washoe County Master Gardener Volunteer:

Step 1: Download an application. *Space is limited!*

Step 2: If accepted, acknowledge and consent to all trainee requirements, including:

  1. Completing the Home Horticulture Certificate program and pass exam;
  2. Attending a minimum of sixty (60) hours of classroom instruction, including the Home Horticulture Certificate. Training classes meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.;
  3. Satisfactorily complete the training course and open book/note, final exam with a passing score;
  4. Complete 40 service hours in approved activities in Washoe County by December 1, 2021;
  5. Pass a background check and fingerprinting.