Master Gardener Application
Sonoma County Master Gardeners provide environmentally sustainable, science-based horticultural information to all of Sonoma County’s population. We strive for diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our organization.
WHO ARE MASTER GARDENERS? Sonoma County residents with an interest in gardening, plants and horticulture and volunteer service. They are people of all ages and from all walks of life: professionals, educators, include business men and women, retirees, homemakers--brought together by a common interest in plants and gardening.
WHY BECOME A MASTER GARDENER? To gain invaluable horticultural information and education, and to contribute to the Sonoma County community -- every year Master Gardeners donate thousands of hours of volunteer service. Enjoy working together with a great group of gardening enthusiasts. Continue your gardening education indefinitely. The application form is at the bottom of this page.
WHAT TRAINING IS PROVIDED TO NEW MASTER GARDENERS? Master Gardeners are given an intensive three month, 100+ hour training program in horticulture. Classes commence after the New Year and end before Summer. The sessions provide a practical course in plant science and horticulture, soil and water management, pest identification and management, plant selection and care, fruit and landscape trees, xeriscape and environmentally-sound garden practices. Classes meet once a week, with field trips and external training activities in addition to class time. A final examination reviews course materials and prepares the trainee to begin the internship year.
WHO ARE THE INSTRUCTORS? Instructors are experts in their fields, including University of California faculty and staff, landscape and nursery professionals, and knowledgeable local horticulture educators, as well as experienced Master Gardeners.
WHAT IS THE MASTER GARDENER'S COMMITMENT TO THE PROGRAM? Applicants to the program are selected based on their interest and their ability to fulfill the commitment of service and education. In the year following the training course, interns are required to complete a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer service.
WHAT TYPE OF VOLUNTEER WORK DOES A MASTER GARDENER DO? Master Gardeners staff an information desk in the UC Cooperative Extension office, where they answer questions, diagnose plant problems, and give assistance to home gardeners. They also work on special community horticultural and gardening projects, such as school gardens, the Demonstration Garden, the biennial garden show, Farmer's Markets, and the county fair. Information and advice is also dispersed by Master Gardeners through workshops, library lectures and plant clinics.
CERTIFICATION Completion of the training and the internship year earns certification as a Master Gardener. Each year thereafter, 25 hours of volunteer work and 12 hours of continuing education are required to remain a certified Master Gardener.
HOW TO APPLY TO BECOME A SONOMA COUNTY MASTER GARDENER? Classes commence after the New Year and end before Summer of even years only. The application form will be available here between mid-June and the end of September of the preceding (odd) year.