Master Gardener Logo

Howard County's Master Gardeners offer education via activities such as:

  • Integrated pest management to solve problems using least toxic methods
  • Plant clinics to diagnose plant problems (diseases, insects, fertility, and abiotic disorders) and offer advice on weed and other pest control
  • Nutrient management: composting demonstrations and soil improvement practices
  • Bay-Wise landscaping practices that protect the Bay and local environments
  • Youth education about gardening at public schools such as our Schools and Streams program
  • Speakers to talk on almost any aspect of gardening
  • Demonstration gardens open for public visits

Benefits of the Master Gardeners Program for communities:

  • Enjoy a healthier environment by reducing fertilizer runoff into our watersheds and the Bay
  • Save money and reduce health risks by minimizing use of toxic pesticides
  • Improve soils and save landfill space by composting yard waste
  • Reduce water use through horticultural practices
  • Create beautiful and ecologically sound landscapes for local conditions
  • Learn ways to provide habitat for native wildlife and beneficial insects

Benefits to individuals who become a Master Gardener:

  • Sense of satisfaction in helping others
  • Regular interaction with other gardening experts to share experiences
  • Opportunity for self improvement, advanced education in horticulture
  • Proudly wear apparel bearing Master Gardener logo: shirts, caps, pins, nametags, etc.

Becoming a Master Gardener

University of Maryland Extension Master Gardener Program is designed to train participants as volunteer horticultural educators to support the University of Maryland Extension mission by educating residents about safe, effective and sustainable horticultural practices that build healthy gardens, landscapes, and communities.

Who Can Become a Master Gardener?

Any Maryland resident, 18 years of age or older, who likes working with people and plants and has a thirst for knowledge.

Why Join the Program?

By joining the program, you'll have the opportunity to learn new gardening skills as well as hone your existing skills. You'll also learn how to solve gardening problems, and be able to teach others to do the same. Best of all, you'll meet new people who enjoy gardening just as much as you do!

How Do I Become a Master Gardener?

Basic Training is conducted in each county.  In Howard County, annual training classes are typically late winter through spring and include both virtual and in-person sessions.  Applications are accepted in fall of the previous year.  There is a fee which covers the cost of the Basic Training manual and other associated costs of training.  For full information, visit Contact MG Coordinator Madeline "Maddie" Potter at with any questions.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

A Master Gardener Trainee is required to attend at least 75% of the UME Master Gardener Basic Training classes and pass the final exam. Master Gardener Trainees are taught about a variety of horticultural subjects by specialists, educators, and other horticulture professionals. Topics may include:

  • Botany
  • Composting
  • Diagnosing Plant Problems
  • Ecology
  • Entomology
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
  • Lawn Care
  • Vegetable, Fruit, & Flower Gardening
  • Organic Gardening
  • Pesticide Use and Safety Precauctions
  • Soils and Fertilizers
  • Tree and Shrub Care

Once a Master Gardener Trainee has completed the UME Master Gardener Basic Training and passes the final exam, he or she becomes a Master Gardener Intern.  Interns must complete at least 40 hours of approved volunteer service within the year of training before achieving the status of Master Gardener.  


To remain a Master Gardener, each calendar year individuals must complete

1) a minimum of 20 hours of approved volunteer service, and
2) a minimum of 10 hours of approved continuing education.

Continuing education hours may be completed through classes, webinars, seminars and other educational activities offered by UME, plant societies, botanical gardens and arboreta, colleges, nature centers, etc. Subject matter presentations made at Master Gardener membership meetings are also valid.  The State office also coordinates continuing education opportunities.