Cooperative Extension Fresno County
University of California
Cooperative Extension Fresno County

Interested in Joining the Master Gardener Program?

About the Master Gardner Program

Do you love to garden?

If you love gardening and like sharing your knowledge with others, the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE), Fresno & Madera Counties, Master Gardener program is looking for you!  Prospective Master Gardeners complete a 16-week training course, pass a final exam, and complete a 50 hour requirement of hands-on training during the first 18 months. 

The training is offered in odd years.  Instructors are University of California Cooperative Extension advisors, horticultural specialists and community experts. The curriculum provides a practical course in horticulture and plant science. Topics include an introduction to horticulture; soil and plant nutrition; water and fertilizer management; pest identification and control; management of home orchards and landscape trees; home vegetable gardening; plant diseases and diagnosis; composting; weed identification and management; native plants and much more. While in training, students are mentored, through which they are given support and assistance throughout their First Year Master Gardener tenure. A passing grade of at least 70% on the final exam is required.

How can I apply?

A link to the required on-line application will be provided on this website during the summer before the class year.  The application window is June 15 to August 31.  An email address is required for verification of your application.  Class convenes the first week in January, each Thursday, continuing through the end of April.  Class hours are 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Additional required hands-on training sessions are completed outside of formal class time.  Class size is limited.

All applicants receive an email invitation to Meet the Master Gardeners, a meeting at the UC Center.  To move forward in the process, applicants must attend this meeting, where they will schedule an interview appointment.  Applicants must demonstrate effective communications skills, the ability to work with the public, willingness and ability to fulfill volunteer hour requirements and an interest in gardening.   

Once interviews are completed, a selection panel determines eligibility.  If accepted, a DOJ background check is required, regardless if you have one on file already.  All required forms, DOJ clearance and course fees must be received in the UCCE office by December 15 (due to holiday closures of County and University offices).  The course fee of $250 covers training and support expenses.

If you have further questions about the UCCE Master Gardener program, call 559-241-7535.

On-line applications will be accepted from June 15 through August 31, 2018 for 2019 training.

2019 Online Application

On-line applications will be accepted from June 15 through August 31, 2018 for 2019 training.


History of the Master Gardener Program

The Master Gardener concept originated in 1972 in Washington State. With a growing interest in home gardening and an increase in the volume of research-based information available, a group of university extension advisers sought a better way to disseminate information to the public. Thus, the Master Gardener Program was born. Introduced in California in 1979, with pilot programs in Riverside and Sacramento counties, there are now over 40 Master Gardener Programs in California. Madera County has participated since 1989.

If you have additional questions about the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program in Fresno County, call 559-241-7535.

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