Master Gardener Program Overview

What is the Tennessee Extension Master Gardener Program?

The Tennessee Extension Master Gardener Program is a UT Extension program that trains volunteers to provide the public with research-based information on lawn and garden topics. TEMGs are volunteers who have a love of plants and horticulture coupled with Extension training to equip them to teach and assist Tennessee residents.

A Tennessee Extension Master Gardener is a trained, skilled, passionate and dedicated volunteer member of the Tennessee Extension team who provides horticultural education to his or her community.   TEMG volunteers provide a critical link between current horticulture research, Tennessee Extension personnel and the residents of Tennessee. They fill a vital role in broadening the impact of Tennessee Extension by carrying    out a wide range of horticultural training and teaching to improve the lives of citizens across Tennessee.

Where are Tennessee Extension Master Gardener groups?

Currently, there are almost 40 TEMG groups around Tennessee with a dedicated volunteer base of over 2,250 active TEMGs. Volunteer hours donated to Tennessee Extension by TEMG volunteers totaled over 168,700 hours in 2015 and represented a value to Tennessee Extension and the state of Tennessee of over $3,495,980.

Why become a Tennessee Extension Master Gardener?

  • Help improve the lives of those in your community through horticulture. 
  •  Receive initial training and education across a range of horticultural crops.  
  • Connect with others in your area who are interested in plants and gardens of all kinds.  
  • Have access to continuing education in both horticultural and organizational areas.  
  • Participate in Extension outreach events that impact youth and adults.  

Your active participation in this volunteer service program can produce excellent benefi for two important reasons. First, you possess a passion for learning about horticulture and sharing your knowledge with others, and this is theour program. Second, TEMG is based on the research and outreach expertise of Tennessee Extension professionals across the state. The dedication and experience of volunteers combined with the resources and information of Extension can have an exceptional impact .

What do Master Gardeners do in Tennessee communities?

  • Answer gardening and pest management questions at the county Extension office.  
  • Plan and host home and garden shows, garden festivals, county fair displays, gardening information booths, and diagnostic clinics to reach out to residents.  
  • Write articles or give presentations to educate the local community.  
  • Work with youth and horticulture through 4-H and Junior Master Gardeners.  
  • Assist with research through participation in trials and projects conducted by UT faculty and Extension specialists.  
  • Support communities through Plant-a-row for the Hungry, Habitat for Humanity and community beautification projects.  
  • And much, much more!

How can you become a certified Tennessee Extension Master Gardener?

  • Complete the application and return it to your county Extension office.   
  • Complete 40 hours of intern training on a range of horticultural topics presented by Tennessee Extension agents, specialists and other experts in their respective fields.  
  • Provide 40 hours of service through the local Extension Office and TEMG group within a year of completing intern training.  
  • To remain certified in following years, TEMGs must complete 8 hours of continuing education in horticulture and provide 25 hours of volunteer service.

What will the Master Gardener Intern training course cover?

  • Overview of the TEMG state and local program.  
  • Plant anatomy, physiology and taxonomy.  
  • Soils, soil management, and plant nutrition.  
  • Ornamental plants (woody and/or herbaceous).  
  • Edible crops (vegetables and/or tree and small fruits).  
  • Turfgrass selection, management and renovation.  
  • Plant pathology and plant diagnostics.  
  • Entomology, Integrated Pest Management, and pesticide safety.  
  • Weed science, weed control and/or invasive plants.  
  • Environmental stewardship in residential landscapes.