Warren County Master Gardeners

 Master Gardener Logo

Last year 350 trainees participated in the Master Gardener Training at two dozen locations. We are excited to announce the dates for the 2019 Master Gardener Training!

Encourage your friends to Become a Master Gardener by attending trainings. As of mid-March, 27 sites, including Indianola, plan to offer the classes this fall. Applications are now being accepted. Learn more here: www.extension.iastate.edu/mastergardener/become-master-gardener


Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Master Gardener home page: http://www.mastergardener.iastate.edu/.

Who are Master Gardeners?

Master Gardeners are individuals who have an interest in horticulture, have taken Master Gardener training offered by the Extension service and share their time and expertise with gardeners. It is the acquisition of knowledge, the skill in gardening, and giving back to the community that distinguishes a Master Gardener from other gardeners.

Master Gardeners come from a variety of backgrounds. They are passionate about serving their communities and sharing gardening best practices. Master Gardeners are individuals who have taken the Master Gardener training and share their time and expertise as volunteers in community gardens, city beautification projects, and farmers markets to name a few. It is the acquisition of knowledge, the skill in gardening, and giving back to the community that distinguishes a Master Gardener from other gardeners.

The Warren County Master Gardener Program is part of a nation-wide volunteer organization.  Our program is coordinated by Iowa State University Extension. Master Gardeners assist with horticulture-related programs and projects sponsored by ISU Extension.

The purpose of the Iowa Master Gardener Program is to provide unbiased, research-based horticultural information to the citizens of Iowa through the volunteer efforts of Master Gardeners. Through their participation in educational activities, Master Gardeners also increase their own personal knowledge in horticulture. Master Gardeners are residents of a community who take an active interest in horticulture. They receive training in horticulture through the ISU Extension Service. When their training is complete, Master Gardeners volunteer in Extension horticulture programs and projects to enhance the community.

The first Master Gardener Program was initiated in Washington State in 1972. In response to overwhelming requests for horticulture information, the Extension Agent felt that trading specialized training in horticulture for a commitment to spend a specified number of hours doing volunteer outreach work for Extension would benefit both. In Iowa, the program was initiated in Scott County in 1977.  To date over 4,000 people located in 97 of Iowa's 99 counties have been trained as Master Gardeners.

There are Master Gardener Programs in 45 states and Canada. The National Master Gardener Organization sponsors a conference every other year.


Warren County Extension Master Gardeners enjoy working with other people interested in gardening.  They learn about gardening for their own use and to help others. Extension Master Gardeners represent and do volunteer work for Iowa State University Extension.  They are expected to cite Iowa State University recommendations, especially for pesticide use, and not to rely on personal experience, or on common garden folklore.  They need to stay up-to-date on gardening information and recommendations through continuing education. They are also required to stay in contact with the Warren County Extension Office regarding horticulture program needs.

They are covered under Iowa's Tort Liability law while working as a Master Gardener volunteer.

How do I become a Master Gardener?

To become a Master Gardener, you must attend the Master Gardener class. At the end of class sessions, participants graduate and become Master Gardener Interns. Interns are required to volunteer 40 hours in the following year after which they become Active Master Gardeners.


Important Dates

September 1, 2017 - Apply online for the core training

Steps to Become a Master Gardener

  1. Apply online by September 1, 2019 to attend the training
  2. Be selected by your local Extension office for the Master Gardener core training
  3. Submit and pass the background check
    • Receive notification that the background check has cleared, register for the core course, and pay the class fee ($195 at most locations); training manuals are included in the fee.
  4. Complete the Extension Master Gardener core training
    • 40 hours of horticulture education offered in the fall: September through November
    • Complete pre- and post-assessment to gauge how much knowledge has been acquired
    • Courses are taught by Iowa State University faculty, local horticulture experts & Extension educators
    • Topics include: Houseplants, flowers, turfgrass, vegetables, landscape design, woody landscape plants, plant propagation, fruits, soils, wildlife management, integrated pest management, plant pathology, and entomology.
    • Core training is offered in locations throughout the state in the fall with a combination of webinars and face-to-face sessions. The core training also includes a full Saturday of hands-on workshops at Iowa State University.
  5. Volunteer in your community
    • Complete the 40-hour internship by December 31, 2020, as approved by the county coordinator. Volunteer on projects and at events to deliver horticulture education in the community.
    • Not interested in volunteering? Register for the core course as a Pro-Hort trainee ($550 fee) and receive a certificate upon completion of the course.
  6. Stay involved
    • Master Gardeners can remain active members in following years by attending ten or more hours of continuing education and contributing 20 hours or more of volunteer community service.
    • Report your volunteer and continuing education hours online by December 31st of each year.

To maintain Master Gardener status the Master Gardener must have twelve (10) educational hours and twenty (20) volunteer hours annually.


Contact Extension for more details about attending Master Gardener classes: cortneyg@iastate.edu or 515-961-6237.

Share |