National gardening statistics reveal that nearly 70 percent of adults participate in some form of gardening. Lawns and vegetable, fruit and flower gardens dot the landscape of residents young and old. Michigan gardeners work to create diverse, lush landscapes while employing the environmentally savvy skills that they learn through MSU Extension consumer horticulture programs and services such as the Master Gardener program. MSU Extension educators and specialists also work with individuals and community leaders to provide customized programming and educational opportunities based on the latest evidence-based research and county-specific needs.

We encourage you to contact your local MSU Extension office about crafting programming that is right for you, your family and your community.

Garden Hotline Each year, thousands of Michigan gardeners use the

MSU Extension Garden Hotline, 888-MSUE-4MI (888-678-3464), to help them make wise decisions about their garden, lawn and landscape problems. The toll-free number directs callers to a specialized team of Advanced Master Gardeners who can answer questions, identify plants and pest problems, and help callers understand their pest control options. MSU Extension Master Gardener Program The MSU Extension Master Gardener program is a horticulture education and volunteer leader training program that connects gardeners across the state to MSU’s faculty and resources. Participants have access to information generated at one of the nation’s top plant science teaching and research universities, and as part of the program, can use this knowledge to improve their communities and enrich their lives.

Master Gardener Volunteer Training. MSU Extension Master Gardener volunteers start by completing a practical, 13-session curriculum grounded in university research. The training consists of about 45 hours of classes on plant science, soil science, integrated pest management, plant diagnostics, annuals and perennials, woody ornamentals, lawns, vegetables, small fruits, tree fruits, household and nuisance pests, and gardening practices to protect water quality. • An Opportunity to Help Others.

After completing the training, Master Gardener trainees must complete at least 40 hours of volunteer, horticulture-related community service within one year to earn their MSU Extension Master Gardener certification. Their volunteer service could include activities such as drawing on what they learned in class to teach other gardeners; planning, planting and maintaining the gardens at a Michigan freeway rest stop; working with a 4-H club or group on gardening projects; or managing the activities at a community garden.

LAWN & GARDEN Smart Gardening

Many people tend gardens and care for their lawns, but not everyone knows how to approach these tasks in an environmentally friendly fashion that saves time and money. The MSU Extension Smart Gardening initiative connects people to simple messages that focus on these objectives. Smart Gardening resources include the tip sheets and videos available online at, public outreach events, and daylong conferences on current gardening topics that are researchbased, simple and earth-friendly.

Soil Testing By having your soil tested through MSU’s Soil and Plant Nutrient Lab, you can learn which nutrients are present at adequate levels for the plants you want to grow and which nutrients you’ll need to add. MSU Extension’s Soil Test Kit Self-Mailer and soil test interpretation website make it easy for you to be a great gardener while being environmentally responsible.

How do I become a Master Gardener?

The original Extension Master Gardener Program was created at Washington State University in 1972. Today, Master Gardener programs are active in all 50 states, nine Canadian provinces, and in South Korea. Michigan State University Extension offered its first Master Gardener Program in 1978. It has grown to more than 31,000 residents from more than 77 Michigan counties have earned and enjoyed the Extension Master Gardener volunteer designation. In 2015, Extension Master Gardener volunteers donated over 162,818 volunteer hours and reported an additional 336,449 contacts with Michigan citizens.  Through volunteer outreach, EMGs shared science-based gardening knowledge and engaged citizens and empowered communities in environmentally responsible gardening practices, improving food security, improving community, and developing youth through gardening.. While direct impacts are difficult to measure, according to the Independent Sector, the economic value of these volunteer hours equates to over $3.76 M. The value of miles driven (802,148 miles) in support of volunteer educational outreach equates to an additional $112,300 contribution. The total 2015 economic contribution of the MSUE Master Gardener Program was $3.87 M to Michigan’s economy through increased tourism and property values.

Being in the Master Gardener Program requires only an enthusiasm for gardening and a willingness and commitment to volunteer. Applicants attend training classes to learn basic horticulture principles and environmentally sound practices. Once they complete at least 40 hours of community-based service, they earn the title of certified Extension Master Gardener.

Through continued education, knowledge sharing and creation of more livable communities, the MGP continues to make the Great Lakes State one of the most diversely beautiful states in the country.

We’re pleased you are interested in the MSU Extension Master Gardener Program (MGP) and trust it will be a rich and rewarding experience for you.


If you know of anyone who has been a recertified Master Gardener in another state and wants to continue in Michigan, here are the latest regulations for that:
1. Provide written verification and approval from the State Master Gardener Coordinator of the previous state of residence.
2. Be up-to-date with certification requirements of the previous state of residence.
3. Purchase the MSUE Master Gardener Training Manual.
4. Take the final open-book exam with a score of a minimum of 80 percent.
5. Read and electronically accept the MSUE Volunteer and Code-of-Contact agreements.
6. Comply with the annual Michigan recertification process.

This transfer option is only available to Master Gardener transferring from USDA plant hardiness zones of 7 and lower.
Master Gardeners wanting to transfer from hardiness zones of 8 or higher must retake the Extension Master Gardenre course in Michigan.

Since June, 2016 a Related Associate membership for Master Gardener by familial relationship is available.

To request an application please complete the information below, and click "Submit"

Applicant must be one of the following:

  1. MGT - Trainee:You completed the Master Gardeners course and are in the process of completing your 40 required volunteer hours.

  2. MG-Master Gardener:You completed your recertification process by accruing at least 15 certifiable volunteer service hours and five (5) education hours by December 31st.

  3. AMG - Advanced Master Gardener:You have completed your recertification process by accruing at least 50 certifiable volunteer service house and twenty-five (25) education hours within two (2) calendar years.

  4. ASSOC - Associate Member: You have been certified as a MG but have not recertified during the past year.

  5. RELATED ASSOC - Related Associate Member: You have a familial relationship to either a full member or an associate member of the SVMGA. You pay the same dues as an Associate Member and have the same benefits as an associate member but have no voting privilege.

Annual dues must be paid by March 1st of each calendar year

  • Individual Membership.....$30.00

  • Family Membership (living at same address).....$30.00 for the first person, $20.00 for each additional person.

Membership Application