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The Master Gardeners offer free information on home gardening.

Call the MG phone helpline during our office hours or leave an email or voice message after hours.

Tulare County
(559) 684-3325
Tuesday and Thursday
9:30 - 11:30 am.


You may fill out this survey
for gardening help: 

Kings County
(559) 852-2736
Thursday Only, 9:30-11:30 a.m.



UC ANR Publication #8423 

Become a Master Gardener

Want to Become a Master Gardener?

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Do you love to garden? Are you interested in lifelong learning and the science of gardening? Do you enjoy sharing your knowledge with others? And do you like the idea of community service? Master Gardeners do all of these things and more! Working with a wonderful group of gardening enthusiasts you will gain knowledge about the life of the garden, and put what you know into practice for the benefit of others and our environment. Tulare/Kings Master Gardeners focus their training and volunteer projects on the following principles: proper horticulture practices, sustainable landscapes - Gardening "Central Valley Style," Integrated Pest Management, and training people to promote youth and community gardening.

What is the Master Gardener Training Like?

The Tulare/Kings Master Gardener Training program is an extensive 16-week training course, providing a science based, practical overview of horticulture and sustainable landscaping practices. The cost of the training program is $150.

Training sessions meet weekly on Fridays from January  to May. Each trainee will be introduced to a Sprout Team to help guide them through the training class and to introduce them to the Tulare/Kings Master Gardener organization. The UCCE Tulare Office is the main headquarters of the Tulare/Kings MG Program.

Classes are taught by experts ranging from University of California faculty and staff, landscape and nursery professionals, local horticulture educators and Certified Master Gardeners. Topics that may be covered in the Training Program include: 

Botany & Plant Taxonomy   Landscape Design/Gardening "Central Valley Style"
Plant Propagation   Lawns and Groundcovers
Soils, Fertilizers, Compost, Amendments   Drought Tolerant & Native Plants
Water Needs and Irrigation Methods   Woody Landscape Plants (Trees & Shrubs)
Plant Diseases     Citrus and Grapes
Insects and Integrated Pest Management   Deciduous Fruit Trees
Weeds in Lawns and Landscapes   Diagnosing Plant Problems & Answering Questions
Vertebrate Pests   About our Local MG Program (Policy Guidelines Handbook)


Who Becomes a Master Gardener?

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 Any Tulare/Kings resident with experience in gardening, an interest in horticulture and a desire to volunteer for community service may apply to the Master Gardener Training Program. Tulare/Kings Master Gardeners are people of all ages and come from all walks of life. They share an enthusiasm for gardening, some knowledge of plants, a willingness to learn and help others, and the ability to communicate with diverse groups of people.

What is the Commitment to the Master Gardener Program?

In the first year Master Gardeners are required to complete a minimum of 50 hours of UCCE sponsored volunteer service. In subsequent years, to remain a Certified Master Gardener, A minimum of 25 hours of UCCE sponsored volunteer service and 12 hours of Continuing Education are required.

What Type of Volunteer Work Does a Master Gardener Do?

Master Gardeners are the go-to People for University of California research-based horticulture information and for teaching sustainable gardening practice for healthy homes and gardens. They staff an information help desk in the UCCE offices in Tulare and in Hanford, answering questions, diagnosing plant problems, and giving horticultural assistance to home gardeners. They provide information through newspaper articles, gardening festivals, talks, demonstrations and information booths at community events, plus other garden projects.

Want to Join our 2024 Training Class?
Please fill out the application.

UCCE provides a unique opportunity of training volunteers to become Master Gardeners. The main goal of the MG Program is to be a gardening information resource for the residents of Tulare and Kings Counties. The main purpose of the MG Training class is to prepare volunteers who live in Tulare and Kings Counties to be educators and extenders of science-based horticulture to their local community. Master Gardeners are expected to help develop local gardening information programs and activities for the public that meet the UC Master Gardener Mission and Purpose.

1) To be accepted as a Trainee you must agree to complete:

  • 50 volunteer service hours on approved Master Gardener activities and projects. 
  • To remain a certified Master Gardener, a minimum of 25 hours of volunteer service on Tulare/Kings counties MG activities and projects and 12 hours of continuing education are required each year. 
  • Details on volunteer and continuing education hours will be provided during training.

2) During the training program you are EXPECTED to attend all training classes.

  • The classes will be held on Fridays, at the end of January and continue through graduation in June. 
  • The classes meet once a week from 12:00 - 4:00 pm. The class meets in the Auditorium of the Tulare County Agricultural Building at 4437 South Laspina Street, Tulare with an occasional class held in the UCCE Kings County office.
  • On occasion, class may be extended beyond 4:00 p.m. to participate in field study. 

3) Trainees are required to complete the  following coursework:

  • Weekly reading (typically about 30 to 40 pages) from the Master Gardener Handbook and other assigned materials, including the UC Davis Integrated Pest Management (IPM) website. The time commitment is estimated to average 10 hours per week including time spent in class. 
  • Prepare and present a 5 minute oral presentation on a gardening topic (details given at class) 
  • Study for quizzes, learn plant/pest diagnosis, and pass a written examination with a score of 70% or better. 

4) Trainees MUST have access to a computer or tablet, with Internet capability and have basic computer skills. 

The MG Program is very dependent upon computer access and literacy, especially email and internet access. Some word processing is expected. Notification of Events, Recording Volunteer Hours, Our Newsletter, E-mail communications, and research into UC gardening advice and expertise are all done online.

5) Training Costs and Expenses

  • The cost of the MG Training Program will be $150 to cover the cost of text books, written materials, and training supplies. Fees are due approximately 1 week before training begins when you pick up your text books and supplies.  Master Gardeners are “formal” volunteers of the University of California and there will be several occasions when “we” interact with youth in our community. UC requires all formal volunteers to complete a background check consisting of a confidential self disclosure form and fingerprinting with clearance from the Department of Justice. This procedure could cost $15 -$35.