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In the News

UC Master Gardeners Help County Residents Protect Natural Resources


The UC Master Gardener Program of SLO County offers science based horticultural information to home gardeners. The program has been active for 21 years and currently has 105 active volunteers. The volunteers have developed and continue to maintain a 2/3-acre demonstration garden where they offer a free monthly workshop on a variety of garden related topics. Master Gardeners also provide advice through gardening helplines based in Templeton, San Luis Obispo and Arroyo Grande and information tables can be found at farmers markets and festivals throughout the county.

Thanks to the diligent work and data collection of the UC Master Gardener statewide program, we have very encouraging information about lessons learned by participants of the monthly Advice to Grow By workshops. SLO County workshop participants from 2018 were surveyed and here’s what they’ve learned.

Water Conservation 

  • 100% of those surveyed reported choosing low water use plants.
  • 80% of participants have installed or have improved drip irrigation systems and have improved their use of mulch.
  • 60% have learned how to better use their irrigation timers or have installed new ones.
  • 40% have reduced the amount of turf area in their yard and have increased their knowledge and use of captured rain water.

Monitoring for Pests

  • 72% of participants have improved their pest monitoring practices, have reduced their overall use of pesticides and are more diligent in following pesticide label requirements.
  • 64% have avoided planting or have removed invasive plants from their yards.

Right Plant Right Place

  • 78% of workshop participants reported an improvement in plant selection practices. Selecting the right plant and planting it in the right place reduces the amount of inputs needed, such as your time and money, for it to thrive.

Additional benefits reported by workshop participants include an increase in edible gardening, increased donations to the local food bank, and more time spent gardening and outdoors in general.

Master Gardener volunteers plan to continue these good works with the slate of workshops planned for 2019. Visit our calendar for future topics and other events.