How does the program work?

In southern Nevada, the Master Gardener program is part of the social horticulture programming of Extension. The Master Gardeners celebrate 27 years of volunteer service to the community in 2020.

How does the program work? The first step is training. Extension staff, state extension specialists and local gardening professionals teach a series of classes to train volunteers in research-based home horticulture practices. There are 80 hours (20 classes) of instruction. Classes are offered on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule from 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. in the fall semester (September and October). Classes include three hours of lecture and a one hour "hands-on" landscape lab. A fee is charged to offset program operating expenses. Upon completing your training, you will be expected to volunteer community service time through University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

What is a volunteer commitment?

When you enter the Master Gardener Program you will be asked to sign a contract. In essence, you agree that in return for the training you receive, you will volunteer at least 50 hours yearly back to Extension. Upon completion of your training, you will meet with the program coordinator to discuss your talents and the needs of Extension. You will choose a placement that will best utilize your knowledge and skills while helping Extension to meet community needs.

When can I use the title "Master Gardener?"

After you have completed your training and fulfilled your first year volunteer requirement of 50 hours, you will become "certified" and earn the title "Master Gardener."

This title belongs to Extension and may only be used in Extension activities. Although volunteering for the Master Gardener program is great horticultural experience, it may not be credited to personal enterprises.

To maintain certification and be considered an active Master Gardener, you must agree to volunteer at least 50 hours annually on approved Master Gardener Projects.

What are some volunteer placements?

Answering telephone requests for home gardening information (702-257-5555) and staffing "Ask a Master Gardener" information booths at community events are popular placements. Master Gardeners also work with community partners (usually governmental or non-profit organizations).

Some examples of volunteer work are:

  • Staffing the Home Gardening Help Line (702-257-5555)
  • Offering "Ask a Master Gardener" info tables at farmers markets
  • Serving as docents at area demonstration gardens
  • Giving talks to the community on gardening topics.
  • Assisting with horticultural research at the University of Nevada, Reno and UNLV Center for Urban Water Conservation.
  • Helping with community gardens and school gardens.
  • Hosting local horticultural conferences and workshops.

How do I qualify?

All you will need is a desire to expand your knowledge of home gardening and some time to give to the community. In southern Nevada, the Master Gardener training program is aimed at residents who have an interest in gardening and a desire to help others. Prior expertise in gardening not required!

  1. Call the Master Gardener Helpline at 702-257-5555 to be put on the Community Newsletter list. All registration notices will go out to those who subscribe to the newsletter.
  2. Attend one of our registration meetings in June. This session will give you a detailed introduction to the program, and you will have a chance to see if it is something that suits your interests.
  3. Fill out an application and go through a short interview. Applicants are notified of their acceptance in early July and payment is required at that time.

Interested parties who work in the commercial horticulture industry may wish to attend a separate Extension training designed specifically for them. Call 702-257-5501 for more information.

Why do we need a Master Gardener Program in Las Vegas?

Southern Nevada is one of the fastest-growing areas in the United States with a population that has topped 1 million. Our temperature extremes, scarcity of water and desert soils combine to give us one of the harshest growing climates in the world. Home gardeners are thirsty for information. Our Extension office receives about 4,000 phone calls each year!

Master Gardeners provide a valuable service to the community by helping Extension meet this demand for information. For more information about becoming a Master Gardener, please call 702-257-5501.

To find the nearest Master Gardener Program in areas outside of Nevada, call or write to your state or county Cooperative Extension office.

Directions to Master Gardener Orchard

The Orchard is located 100 yards east of the intersection of North Decatur and Horse Drive in North Las Vegas. The easiest way to reach the orchard while roads are under construction is to take CC 215 (North part of the Beltway) to Aliante Parkway. Drive north on Aliante Parkway 1.9 miles to Horse Drive. Turn left (West) on Horse Drive for 0.9 miles to the orchard.

News Articles, Fact Sheets, Reports...
Creating a Community Garden
People who are concerned about food accessibility, variety and safety often consider growing their own vegetables and fruits. Community gardens can provide spaces for growing food and for contact with others living nearby. This publication provides guidance for creating and maintaining community gardens.
O'Callaghan, A. M., Fagin, E., and Robinson, M. L. 2013, Extension University of Nevada Reno, SP-13-07
Date Palm Gardening Guide for Southern Nevada
This publication is a companion to the publication, in Southern Nevada publication. It is a month by month guide to fertilization, pruning, irrigation and other cultural practices for the date palm.
Robinson, M. L. 2002, Extension University of Nevada Reno, FS-02-99
Green Fountain Grass
Green Fountain Grass
Too often, attractive plants that we bring into the landscape from other regions turn out to be just too successful. They usually have no natural enemies in the new area, so they are able to thrive. They appear in wild areas and begin to out-compete native plants. One of these is green fountain grass.
O'Callaghan, A. M., and Robinson, ML 2014, Extension University of Nevada Reno, FS-14-11
planting hops in nevada
Growing Hops in Southern Nevada
Hops are mainly used for brewing beer. The perceived bitterness in an Indian Pale Ale is derived from the hops themselves. Hops can also impart other flavors into beers, such as fruity, citrusy, or spicy notes. However, hops can serve other purposes as well.
Wynne, T., O’Callaghan, A., and Jeff Anderson, O. 2017, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, Fact Sheet FS-17-05
sweet potatoes
Growing Sweet Potatoes in the Desert
Sweet potatoes easily grow in the desert and provide necessary vitamins and nutrients. By implementing the proper gardening techniques, everyone can enjoy the tasty treat. Sweet potatoes like a hot growing season, making southern Nevada an ideal place for them.
Wynne, T., Callaghan, A. 2017, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, Fact Sheet FS-17-02
Palm fond
Palm Problems That Aren't
Many people are not familiar with growing palm trees and make observations that they think are abnormal in the palms growth and appearance. This publication addresses these symptoms, perceived problem and explanation of what is actually occurring in the Palm. It is also an easy guide for the professional and homeowner.
Robinson, M. L., and O'Callaghan, A. 2010, Extension University of Nevada Reno, FS-10-72
collection fruits from cactus plants
Pruning Cacti And Other Desert Succulents
Pruning is an important part of any landscape maintenance program, including Southwestern desert landscapes. Pruning plants such as cacti, yuccas, agaves and other succulents is simple, but requires some basic plant knowledge.
Robinson, M. L., O’Callaghan, A., and Anderson, J. 2016, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, SP-16-01
Pruning Desert Shrubs
Pruning Desert Shrubs in Southern Nevada-Type Climates
This publication is a guide to correct pruning of desert and desert adapted shrubs in the landscape. It details how to prune and why correct pruning is important to the health and beauty of the plants.
Robinson, M.L., O'Callaghan, A., and Anderson, J. 2014, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, SP-14-13
Pruning Palm Trees
Palm trees are one of the most dominant plant materials found in the landscapes of southern Nevada and the desert Southwest. Unfortunately, most palm trees are incorrectly pruned by homeowners and commercial landscape maintenance companies. This publication explains why and how palm trees should be correctly pruned.
Robinson, M. L. 2004, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, SP-04-16
wooden raised bed
Raised Beds Can Make Gardening Easier
How to use raised beds to make gardening easier!
O'Callaghan, A. 2010, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, FS-10-33
Root Vegetable Varieties for the Moapa and Virgin Valleys
The purpose of this publication is to emphasize the selected vegetable varieties or cultivars (seeds/plants) that may perform better than others in the Moapa and Virgin Valleys.
Bishop, C and Stoesser, D. 2013, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-13-07
The Date Palm in Southern Nevada
The true date palm, Phoenix dactylifera grows in the desert region and is one of the most popular landscape plants for homes and is uniquely adapted for fruit production and ornamental purposes. This publication focuses on growing the date palm in home and commercial landscapes as well as how to produce edible dates.
Robinson, M. L., Brown, B., and Williams, C. F. 2002, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, SP-02-12

Learn more about the program's team

Lori Leas
Program Leader & Contact