skip to main content


Horticulture Programs

Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training

The Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training Program is held several times a year, usually in late winter or spring. This eight-hour, two-day introductory-level training introduces participants to the principles of Integrated Weed Management and focuses on improving ability to identify noxious weeds of local importance. A small fee is charged for program materials, and the class can be videoconferenced to other locations upon request. Each year, several dozen people go through the training and become certified Weed Warriors. Pesticide applicators receive six Continuing Education Credits for attending this course. Each year in May during a community event in the Truckee Meadows, Weed Warrior volunteers help rid parks and riverfront areas of invasive thistles.


Invasive weeds can move into an area and out-compete native plants for water and nutrients. Eventually, they can entirely replace native vegetation and create a variety of problems — from fire hazard to erosion and water quality issues. Certain weeds that invade the land around water bodies — called riparian areas — can accelerate erosion and prevent native plants that shade the water from becoming established. Without shade, water temperatures rise and fish populations are damaged.

What has been done:

The Weed Warriors program is one of several Cooperative Extension programs that tackles the growing problem of weeds on public and private land. There are more than 30 volunteer-staffed Cooperative Weed Management Areas (CWMAs) in Nevada, and the Weed Warrior program provides the training for many of their volunteers. The training helps volunteers better identify and manage weeds in their specific geographic regions. In the Tahoe Basin, for example, two basin-wide inventories and treatment cycles of weeds have been completed on more than 5,500 acres, and weeds were treated on 374 acres. Efforts in the Tahoe Basin eliminated an invasion of purple loosestrife after it had been detected early.


In the Truckee Meadows, four sites infested with medusahead were found and prioritized for treatment in 2011. An infestation of jointed goatgrass, another high-priority weed that is new to the area, was also found and treated. Volunteers continue to be an asset to the community, removing a total of 53 cubic yards of weeds from three sites last year. The volunteer labor was valued at $2,850. Weed group efforts resulted in 1,635 acres inventoried; 711 acres treated; 859 acres monitored; and 95.5 acres revegetated. Monitoring of treated sites revealed an overall 80 percent reduction in weed populations.

As a weed warrior you can help on community dig days; help map weed infestations, which help determine the extent of the problem as well as the effectiveness of control efforts; and join special projects to find new outbreaks of invasive weeds. For example, after a series of Cooperative Extension public service announcements on the invasive weed medusahead aired, volunteers with weed training were sent out to map, photograph and collect samples from areas identified by viewers.

Weed Warriors play an important role in educating the public; they collect weed samples and press and mount them for us in the classroom. Many master gardeners go through the weed warrior training but it’s not required.

Contact: Melody Hefner, (775) 784-4848

Horticulture Programs

Programs Program Information

Carson City Community Garden

The Community Garden began in 2001 and allows community members who don’t have room for a vegetable garden to rent a 4-by-16-foot garden bed for $20 a season at a 25-bed garden complex on Beverly Drive east of the cemetery. The price includes water, soil preparation, some seeds and fertilizer.

Commercial Landscape Horticulture

Thistles prepared for the “Noxious Weeds and Weed Law” green industry class

Community Beautification through Horticulture

Desert Green, Commercial Water Conservation Training

Desert Green is in its eleventh year and is designed to educate commercial clientele in the Green Industry as well as others who have an interest in water conservation issues. A committee representing the industry implements the training. Desert Green is chaired by one industry representative and one UNCE representative. The program is presented once a year, with 36 classes taught in a two-day period. A committee of industry representative reviews evaluations from the previous year to decide future educational direction and topics. During the evaluation process, the program is reviewed, modified and revised according to the needs of the clientele. As part of the marketing of this program, two articles citing the importance of Desert Green appear in regional trade publications.

Food for Thoughts, School Garden

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Food for Thoughts Program offers children an alternative site for learning, promotes awareness of the desert environment, demonstrates the geographic sources of their food, and encourages healthy eating and activities.

Green Industry Training Programs of Northern Nevada

Green Industry Training (GIT) and Green Industry Continuing Education Series (GICES) are cost- and time-efficient approaches to serving the Green Industries of northern Nevada, including nursery workers, landscapers, arborists, irrigation and lawn care professionals. The Green Industry Training program begins in late winter with eight three-hour sessions of entry-level training for new industry workers, for those desiring to work in the industry and for existing industry professionals desiring a skills "tune-up." After "basic training," industry members are invited to monthly continuing education opportunities — one hour per month over the noon hour — to hone and improve their skills.

Grow Your Own, Nevada

 A tray of vegetables

Healing gardens in Las Vegas

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension healing gardens essentially become outdoor sanctuaries for people who are hospitalized as well as their families and the staff that works with them.

Master Gardeners in Nevada

 A bumblebee pollinating a yellow flower

Nevada Desert Bioscape

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Desert Bioscape program takes a holistic approach to conserving natural resources in an urban setting. This program targets adult learners in the Green Industry of southern Nevada. This program utilizes the successful Correctional Horticultural program as a model for development. Implementation of the curriculum meets the needs of people already working in the industry. In addition to these goals, training will be translated into money savings for the companies and municipalities because correct practices are being implemented. Students that are planning to or are now taking other classes to improve their job skills are being surveyed.

Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL)