University of Maryland Extension


Frederick County Master Gardeners Bay-Wise Landscape Certifications

The Bay-Wise program wants to encourage you to use sustainable management practices in your yard and garden which will help improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Through this program you are encouraged to: 

Control Stormwater Runoff
Encourage Wildlife
Protect the Waterfront
Mow Properly/ Water Efficiently
Manage Yard Pests with Integrated Pest Management
Mulch Appropriately/ Recycle Yard Waste
Fertilize Wisely
Plant Wisely

Within each of these categories there are specific activities which you are asked to practice and implement. As a measure of your progress you get credits for each action that you complete which are equal to "inches" on the Bay-Wise Yardstick. There are 90+ possible inches. Your goal is to achieve at least 36 inches on the yardstick, at which point you can request a site certification.  Bay-Wise Certified Master Gardeners will come to your property to review your progress, answer questions, and if needed, give you ideas. If your property is certified as "BAY-WISE" you will receive a yard sign to show case your efforts. See the links below for the program information and the Yardstick checklist. If you are interested in applying for certification for your property, please follow the instructions below.

HOW THE BAY-WISE PROGRAM WORKS (external video link)


  1. Download and complete the appropriate Maryland Bay-Wise Yardstick for Landscapes with Lawns or for Vegetable Gardens.
  2. Download and complete the Maryland Bay-Wise Application.
  3. Send both the Yardstick and Application to the Frederick County Extension Office
    Email:  or
    Mail:    UME Master Gardeners, Bay-Wise Team, 330 Montevue Lane, Frederick, MD  21702
  4. A Bay-Wise Master Gardener will contact you to set up a site visit.

Once the Master Gardeners certify your home landscape you may receive a small sign to display in your landscape and a certificate. Even if you do not have your landscape certified, you can still do plenty to reduce pollutants going into the Chesapeake Bay by following the suggestions in the MD Yardstick.

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