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Becoming a Master Gardener

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Do you enjoy gardening?  Do you live in San Joaquin County? Are you willing to volunteer your time and talent?

The San Joaquin UC Master Gardener Program is always accepting applications. Our next training will begin in January, 2021.  We will contact you when we re in the planning stages with more details.  

You can download an application and more information below.  (Don't worry that application says 2019)



Master Gardener Application Package

This application package includes, the application and a description of the types of activities in which Master Gardeners participate. The scholarship application will be added at in the near future.  Please read all of the information carefully before submitting your application for the  Master Gardener training program.

Application - MS Word

Application - PDF

Volunteer Projects


When and how do I apply to the program?

Applications are always accepted. We will contact you once the next training date has been set.  

How long does the training last?
The training is 19 weeks and the classes are held on a weekday morning from 8:30-1:30.  Attendance is mandatory at all classes.  Classes are held in the SJ UCCE Office.

Who teaches the classes and what will I learn? All classes are taught by University specialists, horticulture advisors, and community experts. Topics include:

  • introduction to horticulture
  • soil
  • water and fertilizer management 
  • ornamentals and drought tolerant plants
  • turf management
  • landscape trees
  • planting and maintenance
  • introduction to insects
  • integrated pest management
  • water quality
  • home vegetable gardening
  • plant disease diagnosis
  • weed identification and management
  • home orchards
  • fruit and nut trees
  • small fruits and grapevines
  • volunteerism
  • diagnosing garden and landscape problems

How do I qualify to be a San Joaquin County Master Gardener trainee?
Applicants must be residents of San Joaquin County. This Master Gardener program is administered by the San Joaquin County Cooperative Extension office. If you are not a San Joaquin County resident, contact your local Cooperative Extension office for training information. A past history of volunteering in the community is the main qualification we look for in applicants. The past volunteer activities do not need to be horticulture related. Prior horticulture training and/or experience is preferred but not required.

Is a fee charged for the training classes?
A fee of $180.00 (2019 fee is subject to change) to cover training and resource materials is charged for the training.

What happens after I graduate and become a Master Gardener? After attending all class sessions, and all the weekly quizzes and final exam are completed, trainees receive a graduation certificate. New Master Gardeners are required to contribute fifty hours of community volunteer work during the next twelve months. Every year thereafter, twenty-five hours of volunteer activity is required.

UCCE approved volunteer opportunities are available for Master Gardeners to extend University research based information to the gardening community in San Joaquin County. Volunteer activities include conducting workshops, diagnosing plant problems, and speaking to community groups. We also dispense advice over the phone and with social and mass media. Each year twelve hours of continuing education is also required.