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Apr 01

SDSU Extension Master Gardener & Home Horticulture Training

Monday, April 1 - Wednesday, July 31

SDSU Extension will host Master Gardener and Home Horticulture Training from April 1-July 31, 2024. The training course is a hybrid of online and in-person instruction designed for any South Dakota resident who is interested in learning more about the effective and sustainable management of their home horticultural landscape. 

There are no course prerequisites, although a basic understanding of plants is helpful. Any individual can participate in the course at full price. 

Those willing to make a commitment to serve a minimum of 40 hours as a Master Gardener volunteer may apply to the program. If selected, the Master Gardener volunteer trainee may participate in the course at a discounted rate. More information about this training option is below.

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. The in-person training sessions are: 

  • Rapid City on April 8 (2:00-6:00 p.m.) and June 17 (8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.)
  • Aberdeen on April 10 (2:00-6:00 p.m.) and June 12 (8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) 
  • Madison on April 11 (1:00-5:00 p.m.) June 13 (8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) 

If you are unable to attend two in-person sessions at these locations, please do not apply or sign up for the course. 


    In this course, you will learn about the art and the science of caring for plants. We examine plant types, garden types and elements that influence the growth and vigor of plants in the home garden. We will also focus on the prevention and diagnosis of plant problems in the home horticultural landscape. Sessions include: 

    • Botany, plant nomenclature, taxonomy
    • Soil health and nutrient management
    • Invertebrate and vertebrate pests; integrated pest management
    • Vegetables, small fruits, tree fruits
    • Plant propagation, indoor plants, herbaceous landscape plants
    • Introduction to lawn care, diagnosing turf diseases, weeds
    • Woody landscape plants

    Course Materials and Requirements

    • A curriculum manual binder is mailed to your home after registration. 
    • Pre-recorded lectures, videos, reading materials and PowerPoints.
    • Weekly, live 90-minute webinar sessions on Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. CDT/6:00 p.m. MT from April 18 through June 27. A minimum of 80% attendance at online webinar sessions is required to pass the course. Participants will have the month of July to complete their final test, which is open book and online.
    • Weekly optional quizzes to help you retain information.
    • Possible online forum assignments and discussions with other students.

    Participants must have an internet connection and use of a desktop, laptop or tablet. Course materials cannot be viewed using a smartphone alone. Communication is through email and an online training system so a regularly viewed email account is required.

    Registration Options

    The following three registration options are available for those interested in participating in the course. Registration is required by March 10, 2024. Late registrations might mean course manuals are not mailed until after the course begins. Refunds will not be provided after the second week of the course. Any refunds provided prior to that date will be partial refunds that subtract textbook and registration fees. For more information on the course or the different participation options, contact

    Participate in the course at full price and receive a certificate of recognition in home horticulture. No volunteer requirement is associated with this option. This is ideal if you are not able to complete the volunteer hours. This option requires the completion of course material and participation in two in-person sessions and live webinar sessions. Register for the course using the button below.

    Register on Eventbrite

    Those willing to make a commitment to serve a minimum of 40 hours as a Master Gardener volunteer may apply to the program at a discounted rate with a promise to “give back” hours through community education in horticulture.

    This option requires an application process and there are no guarantees for placement in the course. To apply to the program you must complete the Master Gardener Volunteer Program Application Form by March 10, 2024. Applications will be reviewed in the order they were received. There are limited slots available and individuals are selected based on an applicant’s experience, interest and the need in the local area.

    In exchange for the discounted training, Master Gardeners share their time and knowledge on approved projects within their communities. SDSU Extension Master Gardeners are registered volunteers that will be required to comply with SDSU Policy 4:8 and program policies as outlined in the SDSU Extension Master Gardener Program Policy Guide.

    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. The volunteer internship provides an opportunity to apply the concepts you learn in the classroom training so that you can help others learn how to meet their sustainable gardening goals. If you are not interested in volunteering in the community by providing education on consumer horticulture, then registration Option 1 might be a better fit for you.

    After the first year of certification, Master Gardener volunteers may elect to complete annual volunteer and continuing education requirements to maintain certification into the future.

    If the $250 cost is prohibitive because of one’s financial situation, some Master Gardener Clubs may provide scholarships to assist individuals in their local area. There are over ten Master Gardener Clubs located in South Dakota. Contact us by email if you would like to learn more about Clubs in your area and the possibility of scholarship options.

    Visit our Becoming a Master Gardener page to learn more about what a Master Gardener volunteer is.

    This option is only available to currently active, registered SDSU Extension Master Gardeners (EMGs) who wish to take the course as a refresher. No fee is required, but limited space is available. Please do not register if you do not plan to engage. Active Master Gardeners will need to enter a promo code to register. Email to request the code. 

    The course does have a course textbook that will be referenced by trainers. If you wish to purchase a course textbook, please select that ticket option and pay the textbook fee. If you do not want to purchase the textbook, then select the free option.