Ohio State University Extension
Cultivating people, plants and communities.

Become a Master Gardener

Thank you for your interest in Summit County’s Master Gardener program.  We are currently accepting applications for the next class beginning in mid to late  August 2021.

Thank you for your interest in the Summit County Master Gardener Program.  Classes this year will be held in the day on Tuesday from mid August to mid-October.  To apply you set up an account with:


Then fill out the application.


 The following is a program overview of OSU’s Master Gardener program. If you have more questions, please call on Tuesdays, from 1-5 pm at 234.226.6633.

Master Gardener Volunteer Basic Training

The process of becoming a Master Gardener begins with gathering information and attending training classes. Typically, training is held once per year. All potential volunteers will: (1) complete an application the online portal  (2)  have references collected by Extension professionals; (3) complete an interview; (4) submit to a criminal history fingerprint record check; and (5) agree to and sign the Volunteer Standards of Behavior form. In addition, each potential MGV receives a copy of the (6) Master Gardener Volunteer Program Policy Statement  (7) agree to and sign the Master Gardener Volunteer Pest Management Information Policy and (8)  agree to and sign the Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting forms

Complete an Application

Meet with the program’s selection  committee – for a personal interview. Discuss your primary interests, skills and talents and ask any questions you may have about the Master Gardener Program. Applicants are chosen on a competitive basis.

Acceptance Notification
Because enrollment in the Master Gardener Program is limited, not all applicants will be able to enter the upcoming training session. E-mail notification will either indicate acceptance or notification that your application will be kept on file. You will be notified when the next class is scheduled.  Also,  if you have applied but are unable to participate in the current year’s program, your application will be kept on file.

Pay Course Fee and Background Check
A fee to cover training and materials is due upon acceptance into the program and must be paid prior to the first class. The fee is $275. Financial assistance may be available upon the demonstration of need. Due to Master Gardener work with children and other vulnerable populations, an on-line criminal background check is also required to be conducted and processed prior to the first class. Fingerprinting and criminal background check information will be provided upon acceptance into the program. Prior background checks are not accepted by OSU.

Attend Classes
Class meetings TBD .

Classroom training centers around the Master Gardener Training Manual and lectures presented by Ohio State University Extension faculty and staff. Quizzes on the lecture material as well as a final examine will be administered.   A final project will be due as well.  Details on these projects will be discussed at the first class session.

The Master Gardener Training manual, provided by OSU Extension, provides the framework for classroom instruction. Extension faculty members, all experts in the specific areas of horticulture, build on the manual’s basic information to give trainees greater breadth and depth of horticultural

Topics covered in training include:

  • botany
  • soil
  • entomology
  • plant pathology
  • integrated pest management
  • plant propagation
  • houseplants
  • herbs
  • vegetables
  • fruit
  • woody and herbaceous ornamentals
  • invasive species
  • wildlife management in the garden
  • lawns

Focus is on learning basic horticultural skills in order to assist the gardening public. Volunteer opportunities are presented throughout the course. All information and techniques presented in the training program reflect results of the latest research conducted by the Ohio State University and other leading educational institutions.

Complete the Final Exam
Work alone or team up with fellow trainees to complete this comprehensive take-home test. Completion requires reference to the Master Gardener Training Manual, lecture notes, OSU Extension Fact Sheets and Bulletins, and various publications available in the Extension Resource Center.

Fulfill Your Volunteer Commitment
Volunteer opportunities abound! Share your horticultural knowledge with the community through established Master Gardener programs: devote some time to educating others (adult and child-oriented programs);  represent the Master Gardener Program at  home and garden shows, and other community events; answer questions phoned to the Horticultural Hotline; write for the Master Gardener newsletter; help physically or emotionally challenged people with horticultural therapy; and provide clerical or administrative support. Volunteering at approved Master Gardener activities my begin after you have completed the course.  At this time, 50 volunteer hours are required to fulfill your commitment.

Receive Your Designation of Master Gardener
New Master Gardeners are recognized at our fall Harvest Fest. Now “official,” new Master Gardeners can look forward to advanced training, fun and interesting social events, and expanded volunteer opportunities.

Keep Going
To keep Master Gardener designation active, participants must fulfill yearly continuing education and volunteer requirements. The annual commitment includes 20 Volunteer Hours and 10 Continuing Education Hours, plus MG dues of $20.00, all due in November.