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Learning Objectives – Master Gardener training (Western Area)

Picture of drip line system

Landscape Design

  • Understand basic principles of landscape design.
  • Recognize the importance of environmental conditions to landscape plant selection and placement.
  • Understand xeriscape concepts.
  • Understand firescape concepts.
  • Understand microclimates.
  • Develop the knowledge to describe features of plant materials, hardscape materials and architecture that make them useful as design elements.

Integrated Pest Management

  • Define IPM and the goals of IPM.
  • Understand aesthetic and action thresholds.
  • Understand residues, resistance, resurgence, secondary outbreak, suppression, exclusion.
  • Understand what a pest is – biotic vs. abiotic.
  • Compare mechanical, cultural, biological and chemical management practices.

Practical Botany

  • Learn the structures and characteristics of plants.
  • Recognize common horticultural terminology.
  • Understand the scientific naming system and why it is important for gardeners.
  • Describe the growth processes of plants and factors that influence them.
  • Learn how plant science principals are put to practical use for home and commercial gardeners.

Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition

  • Know the main components of soil and the soil types common in Nevada.
  • Learn about the physical and chemical properties of soil.
  • Learn how to improve your soil by avoiding compaction and using amendments.
  • Be able to select the right fertilizer for your plants.
  • Learn the basics of composting.
  • Understand how to manage soils in containers.

Water Management and Conservation

  • Learn how water moves through soils and plants.
  • Understand the concept of plant water availability.
  • Know how much and how often to water your plants.
  • Learn irrigation system basics.
  • Know the seven principles of water-efficient landscaping.
  • Understand what makes a plant "drought-tolerant."
  • Be able to identify good drought-tolerant plants for northern Nevada.

Water Quality and Sustainable Landscape Design

  • Learn the types and sources of common pollutants.
  • Understand how homes and landscapes shed water and pollutants, and where they go.
  • Learn how to use Low Impact Development strategies to manage residential stormwater.
  • Understand how salts in water and soil are measured.
  • Learn how salts affect plant health and growth.
  • List six types of pollutants, examples of each, and where they might come from in a residential landscape.
  • Understand the concept of a watershed and a closed basin.
  • Correctly identify several types of impervious surfaces.
  • Explain how conventional storm drainage works.
  • Explain three sustainable stormwater design principles.
  • Describe low impact development to a client.
  • List several ways to infiltrate runoff in the landscape.
  • Develop a simple landscape design to capture and infiltrate runoff to protect water quality.
  • List several types of salts that may be present in our soils.
  • List some symptoms of water stress on plants.
  • Provide recommended limits for arsenic and boron.
  • Give examples of salt-tolerant and sensitive plants.
  • Explain the effects of sodium salts on soil.

Weed Management

  • Understand the difference between common weeds and noxious weeds.
  • Be able to describe legal aspects of weed management.
  • Know what basic information is needed to effectively manage weeds.
  • Understand the basic concepts and tools of Integrated Weed Management.
  • Learn how herbicides work and how to use them safely.
  • Know steps to developing a weed management plan.
  • Describe to a client how to bring in a sample for identification.
  • Differentiate between monocots and dicots.
  • Classify weeds by life cycle (annual, biennial, perennial)
  • Describe several ways that weeds can be spread that relate to gardening.
  • List three common herbicides.
  • Give examples of common annual, biennial and perennial weeds.

Entomology (insects)

  • Be familiar with basic insect anatomy and lifecycles.
  • Know the major groups of insects found in northern Nevada gardens and homes.
  • Recognize plant symptoms caused by insect pests.
  • Be able to apply integrated pest management (IPM) principles to control of insect pests.
  • Know how insect outbreaks are controlled.
  • Learn about beneficial insects and their use as biological controls.

Plant Pathology (diseases)

  • Understand the importance of plant identification in diagnosing and treating landscape plant disease.
  • Learn how to identify the main organisms that cause biotic diseases in plants: fungi, bacteria, and viruses.
  • Be able to distinguish between biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) diseases.
  • Learn the steps to diagnosis of disease in plants.
  • Understand the role of proper cultural practices in disease prevention and management.
  • Be able to diagnose and recommend treatment of the most common landscape plant diseases.

Vegetable Gardening

  • Learn how to plan and plant a vegetable garden in northern Nevada.
  • Understand water management of vegetable gardens.
  • Know the difference between organic and inorganic fertilizers and how to apply them.
  • Learn how to harvest and store vegetables from the garden.
  • Be able to diagnose common vegetable plant problems.

Turfgrass Management

  • Be familiar with the characteristics of common turfgrasses used in northern Nevada.
  • Know the main difference between cool- and warm-season grasses.
  • Know the different methods of establishing a lawn (seed, sod and plugs), including site preparation.
  • Know the basics of lawn maintenance (mowing, fertilizing, irrigation and weed control).
  • Understand thatch and its control.
  • Learn how to diagnose and treat common lawn disease and insect pests.

Woody Landscape Plants

  • Understand the anatomy and physiology of woody plants.
  • Learn about good woody plant species for northern Nevada.
  • Know how to select young trees in a nursery.
  • Know how to diagnose and treat problems with woody plants.

How to Prune Landscape Plants

  • Know the reasons for pruning and the main types of pruning cuts.
  • Understand the concept of target pruning.
  • Understand the concept of CODIT.
  • Learn the proper timing for pruning various landscape trees and shrubs.
  • Become familiar with the most common tools for pruning landscape plants and how to maintain them.
  • Be able to identify pruning techniques for conifers and narrowleaf evergreens.

Fruits and Berries

  • Learn successful fruit varieties and rootstocks for northern Nevada.
  • Know the cultural requirements for good fruit production.
  • Understand the concept of chilling hour requirements.
  • Be familiar with techniques of training and pruning fruit varieties.
  • Understand harvest and storage of homegrown fruit.
  • Learn the most common reasons for failure to bear and other fruit tree problems.

Vertebrate Pests (Critters)

  • Know the biology and reproductive cycles of the major rodents in northern Nevada.
  • Learn about management strategies for rodent control, including baits, fumigants and trapping.
  • Understand the legal issues surrounding capture of live wild animals in Nevada.

Pesticide Safety

  • Learn how to safely use pesticides.
  • Learn how to read a pesticide label.
  • Understand the concepts of Integrated Pest Management and how pesticide use fits in.
  • Learn about safe transport, handling and storage of pesticides.
  • Know how to safely dispose of pesticides.

Water Quality

  • List six types of pollutants, examples of each, and where they might come from in a residential landscape.
  • Understand the concept of a watershed and a closed basin.
  • Correctly identify several types of impervious surfaces.
  • Explain how conventional storm drainage works.
  • Explain three sustainable stormwater design principles.
  • Describe low impact development to a client.
  • List several ways to infiltrate runoff in the landscape.
  • Develop a simple landscape design to capture and infiltrate runoff to protect water quality.
  • List several types of salts that may be present in our soils
  • List some symptoms of water stress on plants.
  • Provide recommended limits for arsenic and boron.
  • Give examples of salt-tolerant and sensitive plants.
  • Explain the effects of sodium salts on soil.