How To Become A Master Gardener
How does someone become an Orange County Master Gardener?
Once a year we hold Information Days. The purpose of Information Day is to familiarize potential applicants with the Master Gardener Program, its opportunities and obligations, and to outline the requirements for the Master Gardener classes.
The Orange County Master Gardener Information Day sessions are now closed. Anyone wishing to apply to the UCCE Master Gardener program will have another opportunity to attend Information Day sessions in the summer of 2016.
In the meantime, we welcome you to attend some of the events listed on our public website to learn more about what we do as Master Gardener volunteers.
If you have any questions about the Orange County Master Gardener Program, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page and we'll get back to you as quickly as possible.
You must be a resident of Orange County, California.
New Master Gardeners in Training are chosen from a pool of applicants each Fall and the new training class will run from January through April of the following year with graduation in May.
The Master Gardeners in Training attend 50+ hours of classes consisting of lectures and demonstrations conducted by experts in their fields.
First year Master Gardeners must complete at least 50 hours of volunteer service to the community. To retain their certification Master Gardeners must complete at least 25 hours of volunteer service to the community and participate in at least 12 hours of continuing education each year.
Classes are held at the South Coast Research & Extension Center in Irvine, California.
Please Note: Attendance is mandatory for all Master Gardener in training classes. This schedule includes 16 Thursday (approximately 9 a.m.-2:00 pm.) classes and 2 Saturday field trips. Master Gardeners in Training are allowed one absence. More than one absence may result in dismissal from the program. If you are aware of other commitments you have during the training period that would require more than one absence from class, we ask that you apply another year, when your schedule is open to meeting our rigorous schedule.
Who are Master Gardener candidates?
Master Gardener candidates are all ages and come from all walks of life. They have:
- A basic knowledge of landscape and food gardening
- An interest in increasing their horticultural knowledge and skills
- A desire to volunteer in their community to share what they have learned and teach gardening skills
- A resident of Orange County, California
What do Master Gardeners do?
Master Gardeners are trained to help residents of Orange County become better gardeners. Using a variety of activities such as workshops, lectures, and a garden hotline, these volunteers answer questions about home horticulture, sustainable landscaping, and integrated pest management using University of California research-based information.
After their training Master Gardeners are qualified to help the public with problems in areas such as:
- Weed control
- Plant problem diagnosis
- Integrated Pest Management (insect and pest control)
- Soils, fertilizers and irrigation
- Selecting and caring for fruit and landscape trees
- Growing annuals, perennials and food crops
- Lawn care
- Vegetable gardening
- Plant pathology
- Soils and composting
Master Gardeners work in their community by volunteering for activities and projects such as:
- Designing, planting and maintaining demonstration gardens
- Using mass media to disseminate gardening information
- Teaching workshops, or lecturing on gardening practices
- Participating in research activities with academics within UC
- Answering gardeners’ questions via email or helplines
- Speaking to the public on horticultural/gardening topics
- Manning county fair information booths
- Consulting with gardeners with the goal of improving their landscape practices
- Educating and guiding parents and teachers in gardening practices in support of school gardens
Use the form below for any questions you have about the Master Gardener Information Days and becoming a Master Gardener.