COLUMBIA, Mo.– University of Missouri Extension centers are gearing up for Master Gardener classes this fall.

The Master Gardener program helps individuals who want to learn more about horticulture and gardening, says Kent Shannon, a University of Missouri Extension natural resources engineering specialist.

Course topics include soils, insects, lawns, composting, pesticide safety, fruit, vegetables, and herbaceous and woody ornamentals.

People who go through Master Gardener training go on to help others learn about gardening. “Not only do you learn about the topics, you also take that information to the community through a variety of volunteer projects,” Shannon says.

To become a Master Gardener, an individual must complete 30 hours of classroom training and then give 30 hours of volunteer service. Through activities such as hotlines or answer services, workshops, speakers bureaus, garden show booths and demonstration projects, Master Gardeners provide gardening information to thousands of Missourians each year.

“You can be a beginner or someone who is an experienced gardener,” Shannon says. “Even the more experienced usually pick up something from the classes to add to their knowledge base.”

To find a Master Gardener program near you, contact your local MU Extension center or visit To see a list of upcoming Master Gardener classes, go to and look under the “Calendar” tab on the right side of the page.

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