Heidi Kratsch

Photo of Heidi Kratsch, Extension

Heidi Kratsch

Associate Professor, State Specialist


I have nearly 20 years of experience working on issues related to woody plant stress. I am particularly interested in the impact of water stress on trees, and have spent most of my career instructing students, Green Industry professionals, Master Gardeners and the public on landscape water conservation strategies. I also have an interest in marketing social change, and I have used a variety of strategies to help citizens move towards positive behavior related to urban landscape sustainability.


B.S. University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1979 (Agriculture)
M.S. University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, 2000 (Biology)
Ph.D. Iowa State University, 2004 (Horticulture / Plant Physiology)


professionals in a commercial landscape horticulture class

Commercial Landscape Horticulture

Classes offer training for green industry workers, including some bilingual classes, on how to landscape in the Nevada desert

people learning to identify a tree

Green Industry Training

A workforce development program to train green industry professionals, who receive continuing education units for pesticide applicator, ISA-certified arborist and Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper

hands holding freshly picked carrots

Grow Your Own, Nevada!

Learn the secrets of high desert gardening

man applying pesticide

Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management program is a long-term management strategy that uses a combination of tactics to reduce pests to tolerable levels with potentially lower costs for the pest manager and minimal effect on the environment.

tall whitetop (Perennial pepperweed )

Invasive Species (Weeds)

Weeds are one of the most serious threats to Nevada rangelands and lawns. Hundreds of Weed Warriors, Woad Warriors, and other volunteers have been trained by Extension personnel in how to spot, control and eradicate noxious weeds.

Silver Ironweed, Vernonia lindheimeri v. leucophylla

Master Gardener Energy Way Demonstration Garden

The Master Gardeners of Washoe County maintain a small raised-bed demonstration garden featuring ornamental plants. It is located on the east side of the Extension, Washoe County Office.

Master gardeners planting seedlings

Master Gardener Native Plants Demonstration Garden

Members of the Master Gardeners of Washoe County's Native Plants Committee maintain a small demonstration garden on the west side of Extension, Washoe County Office.

Master Gardeners at tabling event

Master Gardeners of Nevada

Program trains local gardeners to provide research-based horticulture information to Nevadans

master gardeners in garden

Master Gardeners of Washoe County

Master Gardeners provide free, research-based horticulture information to Nevadans.

pesticide traing cb

Pesticide Safety Education Program

Extension’s Pesticide Safety Education Program provides web-based training for pesticide applicators seeking to apply restricted and general use pesticides safely, properly and according to the law. Pesticide licensure and certification is administered by the Nevada Department of Agriculture.

qwel cb

Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL)

Training will provide participants with local water, soil and plant information, basic and advanced irrigation principles and hands-on water audit skills they can use in the field

cheatgrass and flixweed

Weed Prevention & Management

Integrated weed management is based on economically viable and environmentally friendly weed management tactics that combine use of herbicides with other control tactics, such as mowing, burning, tillage, grazing and re-vegetation. By taking steps to prevent weed invasion, land owners/managers and other stakeholders can avoid the economic and environmental impacts of noxious and invasive weeds.

Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training cb

Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training

The Weed Warriors program tackles the growing problem of weeds on public and private land.


NRES 400 - Native Plant of the Great Basin

Honors and Awards

  • Industry Honors/Awards 2015 – Outstanding Service Award,
  • Nevada Landscape Association 2012 – Education/Research Award,
  • Nevada Landscape Association 2006 – Utah Nursery and Landscape Association Board of Directors Leadership Award


  • Kratsch, H. 2015-2016. Bioplastic Container Cropping Systems-Supplemental Funds. Subaward through Iowa State University on USDA-NIFA Specialty Crops Research Initiative (Supplemental). $17,948.
  • Kratsch, H. 2014-2016. Enhancing Professionalism and Continuing Education Opportunities for Nevada’s Green Industry. Nevada Division of Forestry. $4,954.
  • Kratsch, H. 2013-2014. Demonstration and Education about Penstemons for Great Basin Landscapes. American Penstemon Society. $931.
  • Davison, J. and H. Kratsch. 2014-2016. Nevada Extension Integrated Pest Management Coordination and Support Program, USDA-NIFA. $384,900
  • Kratsch, H. 2012-2013. Demonstration, Propagation and Outreach Education Related to Great Basin Native Plant Selection and Increase Program (GBNPSIP) Plant Materials. U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station (supplemental). $4,950.
  • Davison, J., S. Donaldson, and H. Kratsch. 2011-2013. Nevada Extension Integrated Pest Management Coordination and Support Program, USDA-NIFA. $352,770.
  • Kratsch, H. 2011-2016. Bioplastic Container Cropping Systems: Green Technology for the Green Industry. Subaward through Iowa State University on USDA-NIFA Specialty Crops Research Initiative. $139,672.
  • Kratsch, H. and K. Seymour. 2011-2012. Community Gardens Build Healthy Kids. 2011. Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. $7,927


  • 2015 – President, Nevada Landscape Association
  • 2015 – Present – Associate Editor, Native Plants Journal
  • 2013 – Present – National eXtension Water Conservation for Lawn and Landscape Community of Practice
  • 2010 – Present – National eXtension Master Gardener Coordinators’ Committee
  • 2006 – Present – Formal reviewer (by appointment), Journal of Extension

News & Journal Articles, Fact Sheets, Reports...

Fact Sheets
Planting Trees in Northern Nevada Landscapes
Adding a tree to your landscape is an investment in your property. A tree will add natural beauty to the landscape and provide needed shade for your home and family. Properly planting a tree will give it a good start toward a long life.
Kratsch, H. 2015, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, Fact Sheet FS-15-02
Hydroponics: A Brief Guide to Growing Food Without Soil
Hydroponics comes from the Greek word “hydro,” meaning water, and “ponos,” meaning labor. In other words, hydroponics is gardening without soil. Growing food in a desert can be difficult because of extreme temperatures, low natural precipitation and limited arable soil.
Treftz, C., Kratsch, H., and Omaye, S. 2015, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, Fact Sheet FS-15-08
Getting Started With Backyard Fruit Trees in Northern Nevada
This fact sheet contains information on how one can start their own backyard fruit trees such as small-space orchards. Learn ways to prune a fruit tree and the varieties of fruit trees for northern Nevada
Kratsch, H. 2014, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-14-14
Getting Started with Backyard Fruit Trees in Northern Nevada
Practical advice for getting started with backyard fruit trees, including selection tips, pruning tips, chill requirements and lists of fruit trees varieties that grow well in northern Nevada, including apple, pear, cherry, plum, peach and apricot varieties.
Kratsch, H. and Hanson Mazet, W. 2014, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, Fact Sheet 14-14
Using Audience Response Systems to Assess Program Audiences, Needs and Impacts
Audience response systems (ARS) are wireless personal response systems that allow participants at meetings and trainings to instantly and anonymously provide feedback, answer questions and vote in response to questions posed. The data is immediately available to both teacher and participants.
Donaldson, S., Kratsch, H., and Skelly, J. 2012, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-12-21
Are You Sure You Have a Pest Problem? Not all plant problems are caused by pests!
Sometimes our gardening practices are harmful to plants. For example, placing too thick a layer of mulch, accidently applying pesticides where we didn’t want them or forgetting to give our plants water in the winter when the weather is too dry can all lead to plant damage that is not caused by pests or diseases.
Hefner, M. and Kratsch, H. 2012, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-12-23
Getting Started with a Vegetable Garden
Practical information on getting started with a vegetable garden, including easy to grow vegetables for beginners and planting dates for Nevada.
Kratsch, H., Allen, L., Hanson Mazet, W. 2010, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, Fact Sheet 10-15
bag of fertilizer
Fertilizing You Vegetable Garden
This publication offers practical information on plant nutrients, different types of plant fertilizers, and how to apply fertilizers in the vegetable garden.
Kratsch, Heidi 2010, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, Fact Sheet 10-68
Lay or Popular Publications
Native Plants Help Conserve Water Andrews, A. and Kratsch, H. 2015, Reno Gazette-Journal
Special Publications
scottish thistle
Nevada Nuisance Weeds Field Guide
The plants listed in this field guide are nuisance weeds, those that are troublesome, but have not been listed by the state as noxious weeds.
Hefner, M., Kratsch, H. 2018, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension SP-18-02
Green Industry Professional’s Guide to Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
A Green Industry Professional’s Guide to Integrated Pest Management is designed to help green industry personnel understand IPM and to aid in implementing a pest control plan.
Hefner, M., Kratsch, H. 2017, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension SP-17-14
Nutritional and Sensory Analysis of Raspberry Varieties Grown in Northern Nevada
The purpose of this study was to measure vitamin C, vitamin E, total polyphenolics (antioxidants) and sugars (glucose and fructose) in several raspberry varieties during two growing seasons and during different months of harvest. We hypothesized these nutrients would vary across types, as well as harvest month.
Jacobs, J., Kratsch, H., Omaye, S., and Treftz C. 2016, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, Special Publication 16-14
Gardening Guide of High-Desert Urban Landscapes of Great Basin Regions in Nevada and Utah
Tips for gardening in the high desert of Nevada and Utah including plant lists and photos of grasses, perennial and annual flowers, shrubs and tress that grow well in the high desert.
Kratsch, H. and Heflebower, R. 2013, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, Special Publication 13-09