How many Master Gardeners?

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by cpllawncare, May 10, 2011.

  1. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    I was just wondering how many of you are Master Gardeners, and did it help your business? I'm looking into the program here, and it sounds like a good avenue. When I'm talking to potential clients I want to know what I'm talking about, more importantly I want them to know they are dealing with a professional not a lawn jockey. I'm getting my pesticide license in July then the master Gardener program starts in Oct through Feb.
  2. mdlwn1

    mdlwn1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    I doubt it could be a bad thing. I have known 3 and met maybe 8 others with that certificate. Not one of them could identify more than a few weeds nor had any clue as far as how to treat them other than pulling. None had any disease experiance or understanding of how things worked out there in the field. They seemed to know perrenial and annual flower names and under what conditions they would grow best. As far as being a professional..thats all relative...I have basically no formal education nor the guys that trained me and I am FAR more "professional" than any MG I have ever met. Again, it probably looks great as marketing and any knowledge you gain would be a benefit, but unless your business is perrenial still need to know how to get a job done no matter what curve gets thrown at you as well as how to handle customers under different circumstances (weather, enviormental conditions, etc) I have asked my MG friends advice on several occasions and not once have I ever gotten anything close to answer. Learn as much as you can..but don't discount a really good lawn jockey that has tons more experiance and has likely seen it all...or as close as any of us ever will.
  3. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,345

    Im not a master gardener but I do have a small daylily farm. My clients love to pick out colors and I make money planting them on their properties. I use a lot of lawn clippings as mulch for the daylilies!
  4. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with a lawn jockey, or a cut and blow guy that's pretty much all I am at this point, I just want to learn more about the landscape side and more of the technical side of things, I've talked to several MG's here at the Local university (Clemson) and most aren't just MG's they have advanced degree's in horticulture and turf grass mgmt, mostly the golf course stuff I would imagine, but I just thought I might pick up some knowledge more so than I have now, and yes I think it would be a great marketing tool. I just hate having people ask me landscaping questions and I have no clue what to tell them, although I've learned a ton just by joining this site.
  5. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    I'm a Journeyman Landscaper, an Industry Certified Horticulturist, an ISA Arborist and have a bunch of other certifications and degrees. I still spend all my spare time reading and writing about landscaping and tree care. The key is never stop learning.

    I was about to write the ISA Master Arborist exam as I had twice the CEU requirements earned but the recession took the wind out of my sails financially, so it was put on hold.
    Now I have to build up those requirements to write again.

    I couldn't be just a lawn jockey. Although, many people don't give us in the industry much credit. We're kind of type cast it seems and we all need to work at changing this.

    I need to know every-thing I can about my industry for myself, not just for the clients requirements, so I keep to the books and seminars.

    I have many friends in the landscape industry that are Master Gardeners. Actually here they tend to be "Organic Master Gardeners"
    They have to do volunteer work in order to keep their certification intact.
    Yes, they have to know that pulling a weed is smarter than spraying pesticides in most cases, where they would practice their craft.

    I meet alot of Master Gardeners that are home owners, who like gardening and still need to learn and keep active. They don't all actually work as gardeners. Rather they putter in their own yards and volunteer at parks and heritage sites etc.

    Because British Columbia currently has so many cities around Vancouver that have banned pesticide use, the people learning gardening today are not required to know about all of the pesticides and their applications.
    Our Province is talking of an outright pesticide ban for all of us. Our Country is also
    working on similar legislation for all of Canada. Ontario and Quebec currently have total bans.

    So, learning what works well using non-toxic gardening methods can only be a good thing for us and the earth.

    Like the chapters in a text book, you learn a bit about this and a bit about that for the Master Gardener test and have to write the correct answer to get certified.
    Some-times things are learned by some only in their short term memory.
    Techniques you learn may be different from what you have experienced working
    in the industry.

    Also, just because some-one is a master gardener, doesn't mean they know it all.
    I'm the first to tell you that I don't know every-thing. Once you stop learning, you may as well die in my opinion.

    Before and after certification is earned, you have to take alot of extra schooling, attend seminars and work in the field to know as much as you can about current pest problems and their control, weeds, lawns, shrubs, trees, diseases of plants, trees and lawns, soil structure, drainage, fertilizing,
    sprinklers....oh man, there is so much to know, to find out.

    I think almost any-one could be whatever they want to be if they put the time in at school and give the right answers.

    The key to being a Great Master Gardener, would be to keep learning after the certification and work in the industry so you understand the problems.
    These are just some of my rambling observations.

    I believe you are on the right track. Go for the certification.
    Others can also check out their local landscape association or the PLANET website
    for membership and
    certification help in horticulture, landscaping, pesticides and alot more

  6. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    I took the course but have not since kept my MG status. It's a lot of volunteer hours and class hours each year to keep your status.

    I though the Illinois program was excellent. I learned a lot through that class.

    If I join any other organization, I would put the time back into the MG program. Unfortunately though, their existence is in question as funding for the extension program has been slashed.
  7. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    Thx Dr E,

    I've always been a big proponent of always learning, I am in no way looking to be a know it all, just further my knowledge base, I've been at this PT for around three years now and after a recent layoff decided to go FT this year. I'm very much a rookie and realize I have a LOT to learn, I registered today for the SC MG's training program, and am also excited about the chance to volunteer and give back to the community.
  8. New2TheGreenIndustry

    New2TheGreenIndustry LawnSite Senior Member
    from GA
    Messages: 925

    Just curious if you took the course and how it all worked out for you?
  9. Oakleaf landscape

    Oakleaf landscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 624

    Fishing Line!

    I hate that ****. We mow a lot of lake areas and common areas that surround lakes. It gets all tangled around the blades and spindles.
  10. birddseedd

    birddseedd LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,111

    i would not consider myself one.

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