Applications for master gardener training available online

University of Illinois Extension Services

For the 2021 master gardener online training participants will dedicate about four hours per week for videos, reading materials, and quizzes. The training lasts 14 weeks. (Photo courtesy of U of Illinois Extension Services)

You don’t have to be a gardening expert to become a master gardener. All you need is an interest in gardening and a desire to share your knowledge with others.

The Master Gardener programs in Livingston, McLean and Woodford counties are now accepting applications for the summer 2021 online training program. This self-guided course can be completed any time of day or night.

Participants will dedicate about four hours per week for videos, reading materials, and quizzes. The training lasts 14 weeks. A strong internet connection is highly recommended. Local horticulture educators will provide hands-on learning materials for registrants when possible.

Registration will be open April 5 to May 14. Training begins June 14. If you are interested, contact program coordinator Liz Repplinger at 309-663-8306 or by email at for more information or to receive an application.

The 2021 online training includes 13 modules consisting of videos and an online quiz.

Topics include: Botany; Soils and Fertilizers; Plant Diseases; Entomology; Integrated Pest Management; Annuals and Perennials; Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines; Lawns; Small and Tree Fruits; Vegetables; Composting/Organic Gardening; and Living with Wildlife.

After 60 hours of training, volunteers participate in programs throughout their communities, such as establishing demonstration gardens to serve as educational tools; establishing community gardens; speaking at garden clubs, civic groups, or schools; or answering calls or emails at gardening help desks.

2021 is the Master Gardener program’s 47th anniversary in Illinois. With over 2,600 volunteers, Master Gardeners have provided more than 2,309,348 volunteer hours — a value of over $46 million, to the state.

Today, Master Gardener volunteers — who come from farms, small towns, suburbs, and cities — provide garden education in nearly every county in the state.

Visit to read more about the program.

A hybrid training will be available in fall 2021, combining online learning with hands-on experiences. Based on fall University of Illinois and Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines, hands-on experiences may be available in person at your local Extension Office. Further details will be released in the near future.


If you will need an accommodation in order to participate, please email contact local Extension staff at 309-663-8306. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs.


Kelly Allsup, horticulture educator, University of Illinois Extension serving Livingston, McLean, and Woodford counties.