The University of Arizona

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Improving Lives, Communities and the Economy

How do I become a Maricopa County Master Gardener?

Master Gardener Initial Training classes are taught by University of Arizona Cooperative Extension faculty, industry professionals and other horticulture experts. The program teaches the fundamentals of selecting, installing, and maintaining healthy, appropriate landscapes and gardens for the Arizona low desert. The cost of the 17-week training is $275.00, which includes a thumb drive of electronic horticulture publications, a training manual, a Master Gardener badge, an insignia polo shirt, and all handouts.   Topics include:

  • Botany
  • Plant Problem Diagnosis
  • Soils
  • Ornamentals
  • Pest Management
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables and Herbs
  • Plant Propagation
  • Turf
  • Desert-Adapted Landscape Plants
  • Cacti and Succulents
  • Composting
  • Landscape Design

Training sessions are scheduled in different locations of the Valley on a rotational basis. Classes meet once a week for a three-hour sessions for 17 consecutive weeks. We typically hold two training sessions a year, one running from January to May (spring) and the other from July to November (summer). Please check back for updated class announcements.

To become a Certified Master Gardener, participants must complete the initial training class and donate 20 hours of volunteer service within the duration of the training. There are a wide variety of service opportunities available ranging from answering gardening questions from the public, to planning public events, to working with school gardens. To remain a Certified Master Gardener after the first year, a donation of 25 hours of volunteer service and 12 hours of continuing education is required.

Applying to be a Master Gardener Volunteer

Anyone with an interest in landscaping, gardening, or natural resources AND volunteering can apply for the Master Gardener program. If you have an interest in improving your skills and knowledge and the desire to work with people, the Master Gardener program may be for you. There are frequently more applicants for the program than slots available. Selection is based on history of volunteer service and level of specific skills and knowledge of value to the program. Please pay close attention to the deadlines on the application.

The session fee of $275.00, payable to the University of Arizona, must accompany your application.

If you request financial assistance, please check the appropriate box on the application. Scholarships are available for qualified applicants. 

Persons with a disability may request a reasonable accommodation, such as sign language interpreter, by contacting the Master Gardener Program Coordinator, 602-827-8200. Requests should be made as early as possible to allow time to arrange the accommodation.


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