Pima Master Gardener program
About Us: Pima County Master Gardeners
Pima County "Master Gardeners" are university-trained volunteers who serve as community educators. We work with the University of Arizona and help expand the reach of the Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program. With the support of program staff Master Gardeners provide research-based information on environmentally responsible gardening and landscaping to the public through a wide variety of educational and outreach activities. Read More
Pima County Master Gardener volunteers, directed and supported by University of Arizona faculty and staff, educate residents by providing unbiased research-based horticulture practices and information that promote the development of healthy, sustainable communities.
Spending more time at home these days? Have questions about your Garden or Landscape? We're here to help!
While our office and popular "walk in" plant clinic remain closed due to Covid-19, our dedicated and knowledgable volunteers are still available to support your home gardening interests. We've even developed a new intake form to better serve you. Please reach out to the Master Gardener Plant Clinic with your home horticulture questions, by using our online intake formand one of our amazing, University-trained, extension Master Gardener volunteers will get back to you with relevant, locally appropriate advice and resources.
If including photos with you inquiry, please make sure your photos are in focus and the plant/symptoms you want reviewed are clear and obvious, not obscured by glaring sunlight or shade. Including a ruler, pencil or coin in your picture may be helpful for scale.
Please Note: our offices and walk-in plant clinics are currently closed due to Covid-19
4210 N Campbell Ave (across from Trader Joe's) 520-621-0948
Open Monday-Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Green Valley Office
530 White House Canyon Rd. 520-648-0808
Open Monday-Friday; 8:00 am - 12 Noon
The Tucson Garden Handbook 4th edition - Vendor List
The Tucson Garden Handbook is a guide for helping people successfully garden in our desert environment. This guide can be used by gardeners at all levels of expertise, but is especially helpful for those new to desert gardening. The Handbook includes how to grow: cacti and agave, desert adapted trees, vegetables and herbs, citrus, flowers and roses. It also contains guidelines for watering, working with your soil, integrated pest management, and much more. You can buy the Handbook at the following retail outlets. The cost is $10.
Thank you to #ThisIsTucson for adding the Pima County MG Handbook to your "2020 Summer Reading Challenge"!
View our handbook and the other great reads on the list, here: 2020 Summer Reading Challenge
2020 Seminar Series
Our Seminar series is currently cancelled until further notice.
Time: 9 - 11 am.
Cost: $10 Paid at the door, cash or check only.
Registration is recommended so handouts can be prepared for all attendees. Seating will be on a first come, first served basis.
Location (same as fall 2019): Food Product & Safety Lab Auditorium (informally known as the Meat Lab). The address is 4101 North Campbell Avenue, but there is no access from Campbell Ave. The auditorium is northwest of the intersection of Roger and Campbell Avenue. The entrance is on Roger Road. Turn north on to the driveway to the Campus Agricultural Center and follow signs to the Meat Sales and MG Seminars.
Free Gardening Talks – Online!
Presented by the Pima County Master Gardeners
Note - These classes will be online and live on zoom. You will need a computer or smart device to attend.
You must register in advance for these meetings using the links above:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Thanks and see you there!
Tues Sept 1 1:30 pm Cactus & Succulent Basics Register
presented by Deborah North Many attractive varieties of cactus and other succulents are easily grown in our Sonoran Desert environment. Learn about their diversity of shapes, sizes, and flowers, as well as their care and maintenance needs. Incorporate them into your landscape and use them in containers on your patio. This drought tolerant group of plants asks for little and delivers a lot.
Thurs Sept 3 11:00 am Cool Season Vegetable Gardening Register
presented by Kathleen Roberts During our cool season the weather is great, the insects and annoying critters are mostly inactive, less water is required, and the vegetables have higher nutritional value than warm season vegetables. So go for it! Learn about both in- ground and raised bed approaches, and the key steps to successful vegetable and herb gardening in the cool season.
Level: beginning to intermediate
Sat Sept 5 1:00 pm Habitat Gardening Register
presented by Toni Moore A Habitat Garden is full of not just plants, but also birds, helpful insects, and other wildlife. Learn how to use the elements of water and shelter, along with the best plants for sheltering and nurturing wildlife. You can attract bees and other pollinators as well as other beautiful creatures to share your yard.
Tue Sept 8 1:30 pm The 12 Design Principles of Permiculture Register
presented by Deb North Permaculture is a set of principles based on the features of natural ecosystems. Learn how to build a sustainable and self-sufficient environment in your own yard.
Thurs Sept 10 11:00 am Herbs Register
presented by Kathleen Roberts Herbs make the world go around as they tease our taste buds, enhance our gardens, and add pleasure to our dining experiences. You can grow a wide variety of them all year in your garden. Learn which herbs do best here and how to take care of them.
Tues Sept 15 1:30 pm Cool Season Vegetable Gardening Register
presented by Deb North Veggie gardening in Tucson is different! Our seasons are different, our soil is different, even our sunshine is different from other places. Learn how to grow all kinds of edible plants for your family, during the cool fall and winter seasons.
Wed Sept 16 1:00 pm Winter is Blooming Register
presented by Deb North Lovely native and desert-adapted landscape plants are blooming in Tucson as gardens in many other places lie covered in snow. Join Glenda Bavier for help in bringing joy and beauty to your fall/winter garden.
Thur Sept 17 11:00 am Native Pollinators and the Plants They Love Register
presented by Kathleen Roberts Our southwestern landscape diversity attracts many pollinators, including 1300 species of native bees, 18 species of hummingbirds, and 3 species of nectar bats that migrate back south to overwinter. Learn about our favorite insect and bird friends, what plants they love and how to meet their requirements in your backyard. You won't need a bird feeder to bring the flutter, hum and buzz of wildlife when your yard is overflowing with native perennials, milkweeds, flowers, and agaves!
Sat Sept 19 10 am The Art of Seeing Plants: An Introduction to Plant Identification Register
presented by Heather Ellison Learn the basics of plant identification, and build a foundation to be able to start identifying plants on your own! This class is the first in a new series of plant identification classes, and will teach the basics of how we name and classify plants, plant terminology, how we use plant traits to identify them, and resources to help you along the way. This is an intermediate to advanced level class as it goes beyond the basic gardening classes, but this "approachably scientific" class is geared towards anyone wanting to learn plant ID for the first time, or for those wanting to brush up on the basics. This class runs 90 minutes.
Mon Sept 21 1:00 pm Growing Garlic in the Desert Register
presented by Gary Vendor & Dru Duncan Garlic is a very low maintenance plant to grow. It’s not fussy about the quality of the soil as long as it’s well drained. You don’t have to buy starts at a big-box store. Garlic is the second most cultivated plant in the world and has many documented medicinal properties, plus there are varieties that can be stored for up to 12 months.
Tues Sept 22 1:30 pm Pruning Fruit Trees Register
presented by Deb North How to prune all of your edible trees. It's coming up on the cooler time of year when some trees go dormant. That means it's time to prune. Pruning of both evergreen Citrus and deciduous fruit trees will be discussed. Learn how to keep your trees healthy and how to maximize fruit production.
Levels: all - beginners to advanced
Wed Sept 23 11:00 am Water Harvesting Register
presented by Barry Weissman It may rain rarely in Tucson, but when it does, we have a lot of water. What can we do with all of this rain. In the first half of the presentation we'll talk about collecting and dispersing all of the water we collect on our property. In the second half, we will show you how to make your own rainwater collection barrel.
Thurs Sept 24 5:30 pm Cool Season Vegetable Gardening Register
presented by Kathleen Roberts Veggie gardening in Tucson is different! Our seasons are different, our soil is different, even our sunshine is different from other places. Learn how to grow all kinds of edible plants for your family, during the cool fall and winter seasons.
Sun Sept 27 4:00 pm Hummingbird Gardening with Salvias Register
presented by Toni Moore From common edible sage to a rare black-flowered species, Salvias are a huge family of plants that are particularly well-suited to our desert gardens. Attractive to hummingbirds (and other pollinators), hardy in the winter and blooming year ‘round, they should be included in all gardens. Come and learn how to create your own Salvia garden
Tue Sept 29 1:30 pm The Value of Trees in the Urban Landscape Register
presented by Deborah North We love our trees, but did you know that they increase a home’s value and help to create safer neighborhoods while helping to mitigate the heat island effect? Join us to learn more about how trees are a highly prized part of your home and community’s appeal.
Wed Sept 30 11:00 am Creating Your First Raised Bed Garden Register
presented by Barry Weissman More and more people are doing their vegetable gardening in raised beds. Part one of a series of how to get started. Today’s class will cover basic ideas, as well as nuts & bolts instructions on how to build a bed. Look for part 2 in October.
Thur Oct 1 5:30 pm Glorious Winter Gardens Register
presented by Kathleen Roberts How do you cold-proof your garden for Tucson winters? What plants will make it through the winter unscathed? What plants look great and are trouble-free even in the cold weather? Get the best new ideas for how to have a beautiful wintertime garden.
Sat Oct 3 10:00 am Family Matters - An Intro to the Plant Families Register
presented by Heather Ellison Get to know the plant families! This second part of our Plant Identification Series will introduce you to some of the major plant families, with an emphasis on the plant families of Southern Arizona. For each family covered, we will learn identifying features of that family, along with interesting tidbits along the way. This is a beginner to intermediate level class and runs 60 minutes. This class is designed to be taken either as part of the series or individually.
Level: beginner to intermediate
Master Gardener Home Garden Consultation Service
Note: Home Consultations are currently suspended following Guidance from the University of Arizona and Cooperative Extension.
We also offer a home garden consultation service to local residents. A Pima County Master Gardener program volunteer will identify plants, diagnose insect problems and plant diseases, evaluate watering issues, and provide general care guidelines. Master Gardener Consultants will spend up to one hour in the client’s garden or landscape answering questions and helping to problem-solve. No physical labor will be performed.
Due to staffing limitations, Home Consulting Service is not available in all parts of Tucson. To request a consultation and determine if your residence is within our currently available service area, call the Plant Clinic at the Pima County Cooperative Extension Office at 520-626-5161 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The fee for this consulting service is $50. Please describe your problem or question, and provide your physical address. A consultant will contact you directly to schedule this service.
Pima County Master Gardeners 2020 Spring Plant Sale (Cancelled)
UPDATE [3/16/2020] In support of our community's health and following guidance from the University of Arizona, Centers for Disease Control and others, we are postponing this year's sale. Please stay tuned for further updates as we continue to monitor the situation.
Our Master Gardeners in Propagation have been busy nurturing beautiful inexpensive plants as well as some unusual selections.
Here are some of the plants we will be featuring in our sale:
- Fruit: Strawberries, blackberries, figs and pomegranates.
- Butterfly Attractants: Flowering shrubs and plants for the adult butterfly nectar such as Lantana, Mt. Lemmon Marigold, Mexican Flame Vine; as well as larval food, ie. Plants meant to be eaten by the caterpillars, such as Milkweed, Rue, Parsley and Fennel.
- Hummingbird Attractants: Salvia’s of all sizes and colors, Sages and many flowering shrubs. We will feature many southwest native plants such as Parry’s Penstemon and Brittle Bush.
For the cacti and succulent lovers we will have large Crested Peruvian Apple Cactus and many varieties of succulents, including Crown of Thorns, Slipper Plants, Climbing Aloes, assorted Agaves and Trichocereus cactus of differing colors.
We also have young Moringa trees and several mature trees, such as Ponytail Palm and Madagascar Palm – bring your trucks along with some muscle!
We have an abundance of bulbs, such as Iris and Rain Lilies as well as ground covers and plants that Desert Tortoise’s love to eat.
We will have Master Gardeners available to answer questions and to help you pick the perfect plant whether to entice our feathered friends or to lure some tropical butterflies into your flight path. In addition, we will have quality compost, garden art, decorated pots, handbooks, and soil probes available for purchase.
Come join the fun, support a great “for the public, not-for-profit” group of volunteers and add some new life to your garden. Cash and checks only please. Sorry, no debit/credit cards.
UA Arboretum and Guided Walking Tours
Ask A Master Gardener at Area Farmers Markets
2020 Farmer's Market Schedule CANCELLED until further notice
35 Year History of the Pima County Master Gardener Program From Its Beginning with George Brookbank to the Present
Planting Knowledge -- A History of the Pima County Master Gardener Program 1983-2018 Through words and photos, this history traces the key achievements of nearly 900 Master Gardener volunteers under excellent leadership over 35 years, as they have fulfilled their mission of outreach to the community with urban gardening education. It also outlines the mostly free current programs and resources the Master Gardeners offer today to help Pima County residents become more successful gardeners.
Planting Knowledge -- A History of the Pima County Master Gardener Program 1983-2018 is available for purchase ($10.00) at the Master Gardener office, Pima County Cooperative Extension Center , 4210 N Campbell Ave, Tucson.
Tucson Area Gardening Links
Pima County Master Gardener Partnerships