Become master gardener by enrolling in fall classes

Master gardeners are dedicated community volunteers who offer advice to valley gardeners and participate in many worthwhile service projects.

To become a master gardener, you must complete 70 hours of horticultural instruction, pass a comprehensive examination and volunteer a minimum of 50 hours of public service each year through the Cooperative Extension program.

Nevada Cooperative Extension is starting a new master gardener series, and there are still a few spaces available.

Fall classes meet from 9 a.m. to noon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, beginning Sept. 5 and continuing through Nov. 3 at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension office, 8050 Paradise Road.

If you are interested, plan to attend the pre-enrollment seminar at 9 a.m. Monday. Call Jane Strickland at 257-5501 for more information.

Among the service projects master gardeners are involved with are working with gardeners at community gardens, caring for plants surrounding Red Rock Visitors Center, teaching gardening classes, propagating native plants and giving tours at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve.

The program’s informative training will provide the skills to carry out these projects and help participants diagnose plant problems. Being a master gardener is fun, interesting and rewarding.


Drop by Dr. Green Thumb’s booth at the Springs Preserve, 333 S. Valley View Blvd., from 10 a.m. to noon Friday to get a free native plant. Choose one from the many species available, answer the question attached to it and take it home.

“Giving away native plants on special occasions such as going back to school has become a tradition,” said Laura Eisenberg of the Springs Preserve. “We want homeowners to incorporate these beauties in their landscape.”

You may look at the plants and wonder about their beauty, but when they come into bloom, all those doubts will disappear.

For those who are handicapped or have trouble walking, do the following: When entering the preserve, ask the security guard to direct you to the south ticket gate; park in the bus-unloading zone while you take a short walk to the booth to get your plant.


The Las Vegas Farmers Market is now offering fresh-grown produce such as cherries, peaches, onions, oranges, beets, avocados, watermelons, cantaloupes, squash and strawberries. The preserve emphasizes organically grown produce from within 500 miles of Las Vegas. It is open every Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the preserve.


Which bird can fly right, left, up, down, backward and upside down? Why, the hummingbird, of course!

If you have ever delighted in the sight of hummingbirds darting from flower to flower collecting nectar, you’ve probably wondered how you can attract more of these lively and vibrant fliers to your yard. Join Rita Schlageter at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the Springs Preserve to learn the ins, outs and upside downs of enticing hummingbirds to your garden.


This free class equips you with the skills to design and install a drip irrigation system. Learn the complete installation process from the street to the plants, including how to select and assemble components, from experts at the Southern Nevada Water Authority. Get involved by building a drip system right in the classroom and learn just how easy it is to save water and have great looking plants. The seminar is at 2 p.m. Saturday at the preserve.


This time of year, most of our roses look like they’ve been through a war zone. The intense light, scorching heat and salty soils can place devastating stress on our delicate rose bushes. Here are things you can do to get your roses into their comfort zone or when cool weather returns:

Leaf scorch: Scorching leaves become the most noticeable, with their burned edges and brown blotches within the leaves covering part or, in some cases, the entire leaf. I find most of these leaves will drop as the new fall flush of growth emerges.

If your roses are really exposed, you might want to cover them with a shade cloth sold by your nursery. Place the cloth to keep the devastating afternoon and evening sun off them. You’ll see an almost immediate green up as the plant’s way of saying thank you for the relief. Remember, plants can’t get out of the sun like you can. And our hot drying winds don’t offer any relief.

Irrigation: Deep irrigations become a must for America’s flower, especially during the heat. If you have lots of leaf scorch on your roses, irrigate for a longer duration rather than short frequent irrigations. See how deep you are irrigating by digging down beside a rose or two just to see how deep the water soaks.

Salts play a major role in leaf scorch, as salts easily build up to harmful levels within the plant’s root zone. Irrigation is the only way to move salts out of the root zone; remember “the solution to pollution is dilution,” or dissolving those salts to move them out of the root zone. If your problem is severe, allow your irrigation to run two to three times its normal duration. Flush excess salts twice yearly, now and during winter.

Mulch: This lost art conserves moisture, cools soil around roots and improves microbial active for a healthier soil and prettier blooms later. Mulch about 3 inches deep with some form of tree bark products.

Removing dead roses: Spent roses really distract from the beauty of roses. Remove the spent roses if for no other reason than to improve the looks of the rose beds. This diverts into new growth for flower production, rather than to seed production, something you don’t want. Note that when dead-heading, use pruning shears to cut blossom off with a sharp, scissors-action to just above a five-leaf leaflet.

Feeding: Cut your fertilizer rates in half during summer or skip this month’s feeding. Always follow feedings with a deep irrigation to move nutrients to the rooted area.

Yellowing leaves: Many roses become iron deficient in our highly alkaline soils; yellow leaves with green veins tell you to iron them. Apply chelated iron such as Kerex to the soil as directed on label. Kerex is more expensive than other irons, but it’s the one that works best in our alkaline soils.

Since the amount to put on each rose is so minute, here’s a tip from Dick Jackson, who has more than 150 roses. When applying iron to his roses, he places the recommended amount of chelates for each rose in a 50-gallon garbage can filled with water. He then applies a gallon of solution under the bush’s canopy for easier distribution.

Linn Mills writes a gardening column each Sunday. You can reach him at or call him at 822-7754.

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