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Who is a certified master gardner?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Outdoors_Unlimited, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. Outdoors_Unlimited

    Outdoors_Unlimited LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 449

    My story real quik.

    12 years on and off for a guy that went from just a tad bigger than I am now, to 15+ employees. But hes a "lawn jockey" and thats all he knows, but good at it. After a while we got into landscape maint. and I learned pruning shrubs, sprinklers, and a crew under me can do 100+ yards a day on the right jobs.

    I ventured into hardscaping for a min while we had a quabble. Picked up alot in the short time I did it.

    Ventured into tree trimming for another minute. Learned to climb and started my own "tree service". Fairly sucessful with it but it wasnt steady.

    So this spring I have bought a lawn more and aquired 32 lawns my first year. Doing great with that. Putting together the contracts now for full on maintenance. Im gonna start a who i am thread real soon to help "new" guys.

    I am hearing rumors of $65 an hour as a master gardner. And I have located the training to become a MSU extension cert. master gardner. Doing it this winter I think.

    I guess my question is, whos certified, and during a ideal market what can I expect for my time on the site, and also time for laborers I would bring.

    My goal is to have my brother running my lawn crew in the next 2 years so I will not have to mess with it (I HATE mowing lawns), and then I am going to put together a full scape crew that I can start in the morning, show the job, and get to estimates and meetings.

    Thanks for all your info that I know will follow. This site rocks.
     
  2. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,746

    O.U.,
    I am not a registered master gardener by certification, however this field may be beneficial in your location. In my location, the master gardener program is geared for individuals whom, work for local nurseries, but are retired or on their way retired business women. The male nursery owners are licensed landscapers!!! A small personal group of gardener's asked me to join their efforts in supporting the area. The problem with our program is that they want you to perform 40 hrs a month or more of free services and teaching to new comers. That is the problem........not many newcomers to the program.!! It is not a dying group, it is a slow moving group that dwells in the natural or organic approach to gardening. Since I apply chemicals, they are a bit smug with the thought of my joining. It doesn't matter anyway!!!!
    There are benefits to these groups socially and for personal benefit and gain, but for me, it is out of the way and hard to find the extra time for.
    Have you thought of (becoming or maybe) you are already a licensed Nurseryman! I was a Licensed Arkansas Nurseryman whom didn't grow my own plants but carried the title for a mega-giant company. It was a good title to carry, but it was way over-rated. The title of licensed Landscaper will hold just as much water as a master gardener and a licensed nurseryman.!
    The many times of travel to our State Venues on landscaping and design, the titles of landscaper was often overlooked as a glorified lawn boy and the name of nurseryman and master gardener seemed to separate the mentality of the two ends...????
    The state of Arkansas mandates that if you carry the name of Landscaping in your business, you must be licensed in Landscaping..and have a contractor number! It is a often used name for those whom aren't licensed in landscapes at all. Each state has their own laws.!!!!
    To end my speech, most of the master gardener's either have done landscaping or currently work in the field. The vast majority of our members are of the elderly groups and the newbies aren't even interested in the ventures. I am one of them!

    We do tree work as well as you, and it can be a full time job or it can be a seasonal or storm related field. We had an awesome winter, then within the last couple of months, the work has slowed down. The weather sways tree services.!! You can go from busy as heck---to dead as a nail!!!
    The one thing that stays on the track is lawn mowing--fertilizing--weed control--insect control, pruning, mulching, hardscapes, annual and perennials. There is much more out there if you want to get really into debt!!

    I hope your quest is fruitful!!
    In my area, your dream isn't a reality without much of a financial back-up!
    The other area is of competant employees whom will show up every day to work!
     
  3. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,084

    I am a Turfgrass Agronomist and have been for almost twenty years. The local to me Master Gardner organization approached me to "join". Several things I found out.
    1. They only wanted me for the freebies like tree spraying, r.u. pesticide application, irrigation work.
    2. The amount of "volunteer" time demanded was simply astonishing. Here I am working 70+ hrs per week running my own business. The remaining amount is taken up with serious competitive shooting prep/tournament. Oh yes, let's not forget the "no weapons allowed" policy either.
    3. I was subject to the most inane and ridiculous scrutiny, I was told my being a Penn State grad didn't "cut-it" and that I would have to pass a series of tests along the way.
    They sure as hell didn't like it when I corrected the test given due to the multiple errors in the question format.
    So I said no thanks and don't call again. A couple months later I am a approached again by these knuckleheads. Seems now they want to expand their volunteering and wanted me to "donate" one of my six trailers to them. Told me they would "put out the good word" on me. I cannot really repeat what I told those bags here but three left crying and one spit up their drink.
    I simply will not tolerate that type of weenie yanking bullsh1t.
     
  4. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    My experience has been similar. retires and college students who know just enough to be dangerous and look down their nose at the field guys.

    Here We have the Arizona Certified Landscape Professionals test and certification. It is 11 sections hands on, meaning you plant and stake trees you lay sod you plant a flower bed, Etc. There is also a written portion, you have 35 min at each station to do both parts then you have 5 min to get to the next station. Only 7% of the people taking it for the first time pass.
    it covers
    • Seasonal Color and Shrub Pruning (I teach and proctor this portion)
    • Irrigation
    • Water management
    • Soils and Fertilizer
    • Plant ID
    • Tree Pruning
    • Tree Planting and Staking
    • Pests and Disease ID
    • Turf ID and Sod laying
    • Calibrations and Chemical Safety
    • Equipment Safety

    I would bet less than 1% of Master Gardeners could pass that test.
     
  5. Brick One Lawns

    Brick One Lawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 64

    Master Gardener = Joke

    If that's all you are is a Master Gardener, in this area... and to me... it's a joke. You know just enough to get punched by a professional landscaper.

    With that though, I will say, it's another notch in the ol' bedpost if you wanted to add it to your rep. That way, there wouldn't ever be an argument with another "master gardener". Looks good on the side of your truck or card as well.
     
  6. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,009

    Wow, Ive been mumbling garbage for years and it turns out I'm not alone. I have run into many of these. My findings are the same as everyone's. As far as clients that are MG's I've had a few. I've never been fed more BS, talked down as much, or told how to do my job, by all my other clients combined in my life than I would get from just one of these customers in a year. 95% of the information they came to me with was garbage, like treat my lawn for grubs 4 times a year!, dont ever cut when the ground is wet (like everyday for the last 3 months), I want my pre-emergent put down the same week the forsythia bloom, etc. Again retirees that think they know everything, but dont want to do the work themselves.
     
  7. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,084

    [QUOTE With that though, I will say, it's another notch in the ol' bedpost if you wanted to add it to your rep. That way, there wouldn't ever be an argument with another "master gardener". Looks good on the side of your truck or card as well.[/QUOTE]

    Yet another experience with these alleged master gardeners, NOT ONE OF THEM understood what "Agronomist" means - and Agronomist is on my truck, business cards and letterhead.
    The mispronunciation, lack of knowledge, and overall superior attitude I encounter with these knuckleheads leaves me glad I never "joined".
    The main antagonist actually had M.G. after their name - and they really didn't like it when I asked if it stood for Major Goofus.
     
  8. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,783

    I took the course, but I haven't kept up on my MG volunteer hours to keep my MG status.

    I loved the course work and the hands on and open class setting. It really help me to fill in the areas of Landscaping that I was hazy on.

    I can tell people I took the course but I can't make any profits as a MG.

    Regardless, it's a free organization and you can't do business as a MG. If you take any money, you are supposed to give it back to the local extension.

    It's a liability thing.
     
  9. Outdoors_Unlimited

    Outdoors_Unlimited LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 449

    Your responce is the reason I love this site!

    Ive read this thread all week from my phone, to busy to post. I am going to take my master gardner, as it sounds easy, and I will take the knowledge. I will NOT do the volunteer work as I dont want the title now. And then I will now find my step to pursue after this. I am trying to decide. Do i stay solo with NO headaches, or big with lots of them.
     
  10. LandscapeSavannah

    LandscapeSavannah LawnSite Member
    from Georgia
    Posts: 112

    I know a couple "master gardeners" you cannot correctly identify shrubs, flowers, or turf correctly. Much less the care or conditions it thrives in.
     

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