What is an Extension Master Gardener?
The Texas Master Gardener program is an educational volunteer program conducted by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service of the Texas A&M University System. Extension Master Gardeners (EMGs) 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, persons who become Master Gardeners contribute time as volunteers, working through their county’s Texas AgriLife Extension office to provide horticultural-related information to their communities.
Note: Extension Master Gardeners are representatives of Texas AgriLife Extension. In all volunteer work related to the program, EMG’s follow the research-based recommendations of Texas AgriLife Extension. The title “Texas Master Gardener” can be used by volunteers only when engaged in Extension-sponsored activities.
Is the Extension Master Gardener program for me?
- Do you want to learn more about the culture and maintenance of many types of plants?
- Are you eager to participate in a practical and intense training program?
- Do you enjoy sharing your knowledge with people?
- Do you have enough time to attend training and complete volunteer service hour requirements?
- Do you have special interests that could benefit the community or an interest in developing one? (i.e. bird or butterfly knowledge, native gardens, wildflowers, etc.)
- Do you have a sincere interest in nature or gardening?
If accepted into the Extension Master Gardener program, you will be required to attend over 50 hours in specialized training courses. The program offers instruction in lawn care; ornamental trees and shrubs; insect, disease, and weed management; soils and plant nutrition, vegetable gardening; home fruit production; garden flowers; perennials and annuals; and water conservation. Contact your county’s Extension office for more information or to apply. [To locate your county’s Extension office or the AgriLife Research & Extension Centers, visit agrilifeextension.tamu.edu and click on the “Locations” tab.]
In exchange for training, participants are asked to volunteer their time to their county’s AgriLife Extension program. The type of service performed by Extension Master Gardeners varies according to community needs and the abilities and interests of the Master Gardeners. Some Extension Master Gardeners answer telephone requests for information related to gardening. Others staff plant clinics or displays at farmer’s markets or community centers. EMGs may speak to local groups and conduct workshops. They may help establish community garden projects, work with 4-H youth, or assist their agent with news or radio releases related to gardening. The Master Gardener Coordinator in the County Extension office decides how volunteer time can be best utilized.
Participants become certified Extension Master Gardeners after they have completed the training course and fulfilled their volunteer commitment.