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.

NEW for 2020! Gardening on the Surface of the Sun: fulfills the requirements for Level 1 of the Master Gardener Volunteer Program training

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis we are making changes to the delivery method of our annual Master Gardener Training. We have begun the "Gardening On The Surface Of The Sun" Program which will fulfill the requirements for the first 25% of the Master Gardener training program.  Participants from Southern Nevada are invited to take this basic horticulture science course  as a pre-requisite to the complete Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program. There is no volunteer requirement associated with this course but those participants who successfully complete the course will be invited to apply to the Master Gardener Volunteer Program and complete the required level 2 training if they wish to continue on with the program. 

Eight weekly online classes will be presented live on Tuesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  Recordings of the lectures will be available to participants.  All quizzes and surveys will be due before the next class. 

To enroll in this program follow the following link:

For updates on the transition and additional Master Gardener Program updates, email Lori Leas, Master Gardener Program coordinator in Clark County, to sign up for the digital email/newsletter list. 

A fee is charged to offset program operating expenses. Upon completing the full Master Gardener training, you will be expected to volunteer community service time each year through 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 use your knowledge and skills while helping Extension 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 a 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 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: 702-257-5556
  • Offering "Ask a Master Gardener" informational tables at farmers markets
  • Serving as docents at area demonstration gardens
  • Hosting public horticulture education events
  • Giving presentations to the community on gardening and other consumer horticulture topics
  • Assisting with horticultural research at the 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 702-257-5556 to be put on the community newsletter/email list. All registration notices will go out to those who subscribe to the newsletter.

Interested parties who work in the commercial horticulture industry may wish to attend a separate Extension training designed specifically for them. Call 702-222-3130 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 email Lori Leas.

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

News Articles, Fact Sheets, Reports...
Nicole Hansen
All About Aphids!
Aphids are one of the most common garden and landscape pests. Here are a few tips on control.
Hansen, N. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel
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
Fall Gardening Checklist for Southern Nevada
This publication will help both the novice and the experienced gardener produce many cool season vegetables in their own yards. Fall is one of the best vegetable gardening times of the year in Southern Nevada. This creates the perfect time to grow many different vegetables such as green, root, bulb and cole crops.
Mills, L. and Johnson, W. 1987, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno FS-87-34
palm tree
Fifty Palms That Are Grown or Should Be Tried in Southern Nevada
Palm trees are an important part of the urban southwest landscape, especially in southern Nevada. Unfortunately, the palm tree landscape palette is limited to under 10 different types of commonly used palms. This publication explores 50 palms that are grown or should be grown in southern Nevada or at least tried.
M. L. Robinson 2010, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, FS-10-64
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
Grow Cucumbers in the Mojave Desert
Join YHEP Instructor Nicole Hansen at the San Miguel Community Garden, as she shows you how you can grow cucumbers here in the Mojave Desert.
Hansen, N. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel
Tomato plants in garden
Grow Tomatoes in the Mojave Desert
This week YHEP Instructor, Nicole Hansen shows you how you can grow tomatoes successfully here in the Mojave Desert.
Hansen, N. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel
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., Robinson, M.L., Callaghan, A. 2017, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, Fact Sheet FS-17-02
Lantana: An Attractive Shrub for Desert Landscapes
Lantana is widely used in Southern Nevada landscaping. This fact sheet is for those who wish to use this plant, what varieties are available, and how to grow it successfully. It also gives information on what adult butterflies are attracted to this plant.
O'Callaghan, A. 2007, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, FS-07-40
Nevada’s Soils – Worth the Toil
Often, gardeners focus on the plants in their landscape. However, successful plants rely on healthy soils to support them. This factsheet is about learning more about soil to help you develop a beautiful and productive garden or landscape.
Hefner, M., Skelly, J., and Donaldson, S. 2009, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-09-14
Okra flowers and fruits
YHEP Instructor Nicole Hansen shows you how to feel like a professional gardener by growing Okra!
Hansen, N. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel
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
Nicole with stems for propagation
Propagation of Stems and Leaves
Nicole Hansen, of the Youth Horticulture Education Program, teaches how to propagate plants by stem and leaf cuttings.
Hansen, N. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel
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
tree blossoming in orchard
Research Orchard Fruit Evaluations & Recommendations for Southern Nevada - 2020
This publication is for both the homeowner and small commercial grower. The information contained has been gathered over years of research trials and observations of various types of fruit trees and vines growing at the University of Nevada, Reno Research Orchard. It is a handy guide for buying fruit trees and vines.
Robinson, M.L., O'Callaghan, A., and Ruskamp, L. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, SP-20-07
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
Root-Knot Nematode
Root knot nematode is a microscopic roundworm that attacks the roots of many garden plants, killing them. They are not easy to control, but this fact sheet gives guidance for the homeowner.
O’Callaghan, A., Robinson, M.L., and Haas, S. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, FS-20-24
Peach tree
Stone Fruits
YHEP Instructor, Nicole Hansen teaches you all about stone fruits and shows you how to care for stone fruit trees.
Hansen, N. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, YouTube Channel
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
Venomous Reptiles of Nevada (2020)
Venomous Reptiles of Nevada - This is an updated and expanded publication based on previous extension publications. It is intended to be used as reference material in the classroom, as well as in the field. Photographs and other materials have been upgraded to make identification more precise.
Jones, J., Robinson, M. L., McKeever, B., and O'Callaghan, A. 2020, University of Nevada, Reno Extension, SP-20-13

Learn more about the program's team

Lori Leas
Program Leader & Contact