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Apply to Attend Master Gardener and Home Horticulture Course

Applications are now being accepted for the South Dakota State University Extension Master Gardener and Home Horticulture course offered March 23 to June 13.

Training is for any South Dakota resident interested in learning more about effectively caring for their gardens, lawns and home landscapes. There are no course prerequisites, although a basic understanding of plants is helpful.

This course focuses on the art and science of caring for plants, including examination of plant types, garden types and elements that influence the growth and vigor of plants in the home garden. Content focuses on the prevention and diagnosis of plant problems in the home horticultural landscape. Topics include botany, plant nomenclature, taxonomy, soil health and nutrient management, pests and pest management, vegetables, small fruits, tree fruits, plant propagation, indoor plants, herbaceous landscape plants (flowers and grasses), introduction to lawn care, diagnosing turf diseases, weeds, and woody landscape plants (trees, shrubs and vines).

The course format is a hybrid of online and in-person instruction. Trainees are required to attend two in-person training sessions to pass the course. They can choose one location to attend their in-person training. This year’s locations are an evening session on March 23 and a full day on June 9 in Hot Springs, South Dakota; evening on March 28 and full day on June 12 in Watertown, South Dakota; and evening on March 29 and full day on June 13 in Yankton, South Dakota.

The online component will consist of weekly, live 90-minute webinar sessions at 6 p.m. MT/7 p.m. CST on Thursdays from April 13 through June 8. A minimum of 80% attendance at online webinar sessions is required to pass the course. Participants must have an internet connection and use of a desktop, laptop or tablet. Course materials cannot be viewed using a smartphone alone. Some modules have downloadable documents that can complement the training. Trainees should know how to download documents. Communication is through email and an online training system so a regularly viewed email account is required. Course materials include a curriculum manual binder, mailed to your home after registration.

There are three different options for participation, for $500, $250 or $80. For $500, anyone participating in the course will receive a certificate of recognition in Home Horticulture upon completion. There is no volunteer requirement. This is ideal for those unable to complete the volunteer hours or who live outside of South Dakota.

Those willing to commit to a minimum of 40 hours as a Master Gardener volunteer may also apply to the program. If selected, they receive a discounted rate of $250, with a promise to give back hours through community education in horticulture. This option requires an application process and there are limited slots available. Individuals are selected based on experience, interest and need in the local area. SDSU Extension Master Gardeners are registered volunteers required to comply with university policies. To become a certified Master Gardener, you will need to complete volunteer paperwork, a background check, the course material, pass the final open-book exam and complete 40 hours of volunteer service as a Master Gardener Intern in 12 months. After the first year of certification, Master Gardener volunteers may elect to complete annual volunteer and continuing education requirements to maintain their certification.

For $80, active SDSU Extension Master Gardeners may take the course or purchase an SDSU Extension Master Gardener Training Curriculum Manual. This option is only available to currently registered Master Gardeners. No fee is required for registration, but limited space is available.

Apply online at Applications are due March 10.

For more information, contact or Prairey Walkling, SDSU Extension Family and Community Health Field Specialist.

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