Registration open for Nebraska Extension Master Gardener program

Nebraska Extension is offering Master Gardener training throughout the state in 2017. (Craig Chandler I University Communications)

November 29, 2016

Lincoln, Neb. — Nebraska Extension is offering Master Gardener training throughout the state in 2017. The Nebraska EMG program is a horticulture-related volunteer training program based in many counties and has been part of Nebraska Extension since 1976.

EMG volunteers are trained by Nebraska Extension faculty and staff in many horticulture-related topics. They then contribute time as volunteers, working through their local extension office, to provide horticulture-related information to their community. More specifically, they provide education about sustainable horticultural practices. Participants are required to complete 40 hours of training and 40 hours of volunteer service during the initial year of their involvement in the program. EMG volunteers retain their certification through annual training and volunteering.

EMG class times, location and cost vary across the state, but are generally offered February through May. An application form is available on the Nebraska Extension Master Gardener Program website.

The following lawn and garden programs will be offered as part of the EMG training program:.

Feb. 7: Plant Diagnostics – What is wrong with this plant? Diagnosing plant problems can be difficult. There can be many different causes for a symptom. Participants will learn what questions to ask to narrow down possible causes and about diagnostics tools to use. There will be a review of 2016 plant issues and participants will practice diagnosing plant problems through role playing.

-Presented by Kelly Feehan, extension educator, Platte County

Feb. 14: Turf Basics – What does it take to get a great lawn? The basics of turfgrass management will be shared along with proper fertilizer and irrigation application techniques in home lawns and public spaces. With hands-on activities of how to correctly calculate fertilizer and irrigation amounts through calibrating fertilizer spreader and irrigation systems, participants will learn what it takes to have a great home lawn.

– Presented by Bill Kreuser, assistant professor, extension turfgrass specialist, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture

Feb. 21: Small Fruit Production – Participants will learn how to successfully grow small fruit crops including strawberries, grapes and brambles in Nebraska. Information shared will include the various aspects of growing these crops from planting, training and pruning, efficient water and nutrient application, to integrated pest management, that all impact the success of these crops.

– Presented by Connie Fisk, extension educator, Regional Food Systems

Feb. 28: Soil Basics – What are the components that come together to create soil? The various aspects of soil particle structures and textures will be shared and how they impact the property of different classes of soil. Participants will also learn how to collect soil tests and interpret test results.

– Presented by Brian Krienke, extension educator, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture

March 7: Landscape Design – What are the secrets of quality landscape design for home and public landscapes across Nebraska? Extension Educator Elizabeth Killinger will share the crucial elements of landscape design that maximize the resources available for those flourishing landscapes wherever one lives in Nebraska. With the principles of good landscape in mind, participants will then design a landscape in a box. 

– Presented by Elizabeth Killinger, extension educator, Hall County

March 21: Insect Physiology, Pesticides and Pollinators – Insects feature body parts that have been adapted to the growing and reproductive needs of their respective species and insect orders. Information about about these variations will be shared, and how they impact the growth and function of insects in the landscape. The science behind pesticides, and how they can impact insect health in landscapes and the environment will be discussed. Participants will learn how to provide a variety of plant material in the landscape to support pollinator and beneficial insects in the landscape!

– Presented by Jonathan Larson, extension educator, Douglas-Sarpy and Natalia Bjorklund, extension educator, Dodge County

The programs will be held 6:30–9 p.m. CST and 5:30–8 p.m. MST, at specific  locations across Nebraska. The programs will also be live streamed. Contact a local Nebraska Extension office for availability.

Other potential topics covered by the EMG program include plant functions and the growing environment; insect identification and management; turfgrass management; plant diseases and management; weed identification and management; trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plant selection and management; wildlife management; landscape design and management and water conservation and management.

For more information or to apply, visit

Terri James
Nebraska Extension Educator
Department of Agronomy and Horticulture