Throughout this site there are links to documents of various file types. Please contact our Statewide Program Leader if you require this information in a different format.
WSU Master Gardener volunteer resources
Importance of Branding
“Branding is about much more than logos, colors, and typefaces. The WSU brand consists of the feelings, memories, and expectations that come to mind when people hear or read the word “Washington State University”. We want our audiences to associate those words with a mental picture of a dynamic, engaged and forward-looking organization dedicated to making the world a better place.“(brand.wsu.edu).
The same is true for all of the programs offered by WSU and is particularly true for the flagship WSU Master Gardener program. Branding links the Master Gardener program to WSU, creates a consistent impression across the entire organization, enhances credibility and validity of information, helps guide random or rogue directions and makes every contributor responsible for building a shared reputation.
Official logos must be used on all official communication from the WSU Master Gardener program, centrally and from county offices. No other representations may be used for the organization or its units. Examples of official communication include:
· Table Cloths
Spirit marks may be used in conjunction with official logos on official communications. They cannot be used as stand-alone elements on official communications. However, they can be used for as stand-alone elements on apparel such as hats, shirts and other unofficial SWAG to show a relationship to the official WSU Master Gardener program and convey individual credibility.
Spirit marks have a very limited independent or specific use and can be used only when representing an individual volunteer but must never be used to represent the MG program without also using the official logo. In addition, with those spirit marks that include a title, the title cannot be modified and must always include the word “Volunteer” as in “Master Gardener Volunteer” to emphasize the point that Master Gardeners are indeed volunteers.
Using logos and spirit marks in a PDF file.
Program logos, spirit marks, and other identifiers can only be developed by CAHNRS Communications. No other signatures, marks, logos, spirit marks, or representations may be used to represent the organization or its units and divisions without the express written consent from the Associate Dean and Director of Extension.
County specific program and foundation logos and spirit marks may be ordered by contacting Gerald Steffen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Guidelines for Extension logo use (.pdf)
- Guidelines for secondary/spirit mark use (.pdf)
- Color and typography cheat sheet (.pdf)
- More information on WSU branding: Washington State University – WSU Brand Guidelines (wsu.edu)
- WSU Extension County Logos (wsu.edu)
- Spirit marks and Icons
- Cougar head (crimson)
- Cougar head (white on gray background)
- Cougar spirit circle social media badge
- EMG program flower social media badge
- News & Social Media | CAHNRS Marketing and Communications | Washington State University (wsu.edu)
- Web and Digital – Washington State University (wsu.edu)
- Social Media Toolkit training (10/5/2022 recorded session)
- How to use #hashtags effectively (website)
- How to use tags (YouTube video)
- How to Use Instagram Hashtags in 2022 to Grow Your Account (YouTube video)
- Image Copyright on Social Media: Everything You Need to Know (blog article)
- One-page event flyer template (Power Point downloadable file)
- WSU Extension Master Gardener letterhead (MS Word doc)
- EMG County Poster templates (Power Point downloadable file)
- 24×36 Who We Are ready-to-print poster 9/2022 (jpg)
- 24X36 poster template (Power Point downloadable file)
- Bookmark template (Power Point downloadable file)
- 3×4 cards in Canva (External website)
- Plant sale bookmark template in Canva (External website) customize with your own photo, county logo, and information
- Plant clinic/Event bookmark template in Canva (External website)
- Plant clinic/event samples: plant clinic 1, plant clinic 2, events sample
- Plant clinic 24×36 poster (jpg)
- Plant clinic 24×36 poster (pdf)
Microsoft Publisher files can be found on OneDrive. They include files for 3×4 cards, rack cards, tri-fold brochures, and one-page flyers.
- Various Microsoft Publisher files on OneDrive (Please download files to edit)
- NWFGF Publicity Guidelines (pdf)
- How to order 3×4 cards (pdf) from Uprinting.com
- Zoom background 5 for 5 (jpg)
- Zoom background – 5 for 5 flowers (jpg)
- Zoom background – 5 for 5 carrots (jpg)
- Zoom background – 5 for 5 poppies (jpg)
- Zoom background – monarch (png)
- Zoom background – carrots (png)
- Zoom background – gardening (png)
- Zoom background – tree leaves (jpg)
- Zoom background – summer flowers (jpg)
- Zoom background – vegetable garden (jpg)
- Zoom background – vegetables (jpg)
- Zoom background – cosmos (jpg)
- Zoom background – crocus (jpg)
- Zoom background – hydrangea (jpg)
- Zoom background – crocus 2 (jpg)
- Zoom background – artichoke bloom (jpg)
- Zoom background – trees (jpg)
- Zoom background – seedlings (jpg)
- Zoom background – butterflies at night (jpg)
- Zoom background – echinacea (jpg)
- Zoom background – sunflower (jpg)
- Zoom background – vegetable garden 2 (jpg)
- Zoom background – garden tools (jpg)
- Zoom background – spring bulbs (jpg)
- Zoom background – asters (jpg)
- Zoom background – spring blossoms (jpg)
- Zoom background – sign of spring (jpg)
- Zoom background – lavender (jpg)
- Zoom background – tomato seedlings (jpg)
- Zoom background – water conservation (jpg)
- Zoom background – soil health (jpg)
- Zoom background – soil health 2 (jpg)
- Zoom background – soil heath -compost (jpg)
- Zoom background – pollinators (jpg)
- Zoom background – pollinators 2 (jpg)
- Zoom background – pollinators 3 (jpg)
- Zoom background – plant biodiversity (jpg)
- Zoom background – nearby nature (jpg)
- Zoom background – nearby nature 2 (jpg)
- Zoom background – local food (jpg)
- Zoom background – local food 2 (jpg)
- Zoom background – clean water (jpg)
- Plant Clinic banner 33×77 (pdf) *
- Nine Program Priorities banner 33×77 (pdf)*
- Climate change, water banner 33×77 (pdf)*
- Soil, pollinators, local food banner 33×77 (pdf)*
- Plants, nature, wildfire banner 33×77 (pdf)*
*The total banner size is 33″x81″, with the final graphic displayed 33″x77″. Retractable banners can be purchased from Uprinting and Vista Print as well as other local or online printing companies.
- 2023 Northwest Flower and Garden Festival (Approved Seminars for WSU Extension Master Gardener Continuing Education)
- Seed Starting 101 (link to OneDrive video file) This video training is approximately 1 hour, 45 minutes long. Instructor: Dan Goodspeed, horticultural consultant. Print the handout to follow along and for future reference.
- Local Food 9/13/22 (.pptx)
- Pollinators 9/13/22 (.pptx)
- Wildfire Preparedness 9/13/22 (.pptx)
- Water Conservation 9/13/22 (.pptx)
- Clean Water 9/13/22 (.pptx)
- Climate Change 9/13/22 (.pptx)
- Nearby Nature 9/13/22 (.pptx)
- Plant Biodiversity 9/13/22 (.pptx)
- Soil Health 9/13/22 (.pptx)
- Downloadall slide decks in zip file 9/13/22
- Large Format Priorities map – 36×24 (.pdf)
- Large Format Priorities map – 40×27 (.pdf)
- Program Priorities map – 11×8-5.pdf)
- Download all Priorities maps in zip file
- Program Priorities table handout (pdf)
- Program Priorities table (jpg)
- 24×36 ready-to-print 9 Program Priorities poster (png)
- 24×36 ready-to-print Climate Change poster (png)
- 24×36 ready-to-print Clean Water poster (png)
- 24×36 ready-to-print Water Conservation poster (png)
- 24×36 ready-to-print Soil Health poster (png)
- 24×36 ready-to-print Pollinators poster(png)
- 24×36 ready-to-print Local Food poster (png)
- 24×36 ready-to-print Plant Biodiversity poster (png)
- 24×36 ready-to-print Nearby Nature poster (png)
- 24×36 ready-to-print Wildfire Preparedness poster (png)
- Canva template for 24×36 program priorities posters (external website)
- 24×36 Who We Are ready-to-print poster 9/2022 (jpg)
- 24×36 Who We Are ready-to-print poster 9/2022 (pdf)
Policies and Procedures:
Application, Selection, Acceptance, and Enrollment
Becoming a Certified WSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer
Washington State residents must apply to and be accepted into a local county WSU Extension Master Gardener program. There are three steps to certification: (1) training; (2) internship; and (3) certification. To remain certified, volunteers must meet the state minimum and county minimum service and continuing education and background screening requirements. Automatic recertification is not granted. Each volunteer must reapply to the program each year. Application, selection, training, and recertification requirements are described below.
Successful applicants to the WSU Extension Master Gardener Program must:
- Be at least 18 years of age.
- Have a strong volunteer ethic and interest in gardening. Gardening experience is desirable but not required.
- Commit to participate in the WSU Extension Master Gardener Online Basic Training course and to complete the final exam with a minimum score of 80% and all quizzes with an overall average score of at least 80%.
- Commit to participate in the local WSU Extension Master Gardener Program in-class training at a level that is acceptable to the local program coordinator.
- Be available to perform volunteer work as needed by the local WSU Extension Master Gardener Program.
- Agree to donate a state minimum of 40 hours in the first year plus additional volunteer hours that may be required by the local WSU Extension Master Gardener program coordinator.
- Agree to earn a state minimum of ten hours of continuing education (CE) each year plus additional CE that may by required by the local WSU Extension Master Gardener program coordinator.
- Agree to document volunteer hours each month.
- Agree to sign a Pest Management Recommendation Agreement.
- Agree to complete a Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult Training.
- Commit to attending all in-class training sessions required by the local WSU Master Gardener program coordinator.
- Commit to completing all online modules and quizzes with an average score of 80%. The final exam must be completed with at least an 80%.
All potential WSU Master Gardener volunteers must complete an application (online or on paper) and complete an initial criminal background check and subsequent checks every three years. The most up-to-date application and criminal background check can be found on the WSU Master Gardener Program website.
All WSU Extension volunteers must complete the required applications. Application instructions and forms can be found on the WSU Master Gardener Program website.
WSU County Extension offices must:
- Publicize the program, training, and application;
- Disclose the background check requirement;
- Provide a general time frame for when training is offered;
- Provide general costs and fees associated with training; and
- Provide an application deadline with a process to apply.
Selection and Acceptance
Program coordinators are responsible for selecting potential volunteers. The selection and acceptance process should, at a minimum, include:
- Interviews of potential volunteers (approved interview questions are on our website) to ascertain whether the candidate is a good fit.
- Completion of at least two reference checks.
- Successful completion of the background check. Background checks that require further review will be routed directly to the WSU Extension Volunteer Development Specialist.
- Correspondence regarding acceptance or non-acceptance into the WSU Extension Master Gardener Program.
- Correspondence regarding how to enroll in both the online and face-to-face portions of training and information on the first day of in-class training (for example, time and location). A sample welcome packet can be found on the WSU Master Gardener Program Coordinator website.
Volunteer Background Check Policy Revision
May 5, 2021
After careful consideration and review, WSU Extension is revising the Volunteer Background Check Policy. We thank you for your continued patience as we work together to ensure we have an effective policy. There are two essential changes.
- WSU Extension has approved alternative platforms for background screens to meet the WSU Extension requirements.
- Additionally, effective May 5, 2021, rescreening of volunteer background checks will be required every three years.
The following options are now available for volunteer background checks:
- Sterling Volunteers: This is the preferred method and is the only option available to 4-H volunteers who want the 4-H Program to pay for the background check. For all other volunteer programs, including Master Gardeners:
- Program Paid Background Screens: Sterling Volunteers is the only option available for volunteers who want the respective program to pay for the background check. (program paid screening is not available in all counties).
- Foundation Paid Background Screens: Individual Foundations will need to determine any limits on amount paid and may use the alternative methods described below if they choose.
- WSU will continue to bill Foundations for background screens completed through Sterling Volunteers.
- WSU cannot bill Foundations for alternative background check methods.
- WSU Extension will accept a Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) fingerprint background check. The FBI labels this as an Identity History Summary Check. Options for accessing a FBI Identity History Summary Check can be found at Identity History Summary Checks — FBI. An Identity History Summary Check will only be accepted with the following provisions:
- The volunteer is responsible for paying for the fingerprint check.
- The FBI fingerprint check must be a full criminal background check (Identity History Summary Check).
- The report produced by the FBI Identity History Summary Check must be delivered directly to: Jana Ferris, WSU Extension Volunteer Specialist, PO Box 370, Marysville, WA 98270 or email@example.com.
- A volunteer may use an alternative background screening platform if they are able to have the screening report submitted directly to the Volunteer Specialist or WSU Extension personnel. As of May 5, 2021, IntelliCorp has been approved as an alternate vendor. Prior to using an alternative platform, including IntelliCorp, please contact the Extension Volunteer Specialist for specific requirements.
Civil Rights, Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct.
Discrimination in all its forms, including discriminatory harassment, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct (including sexual assault and other sexual violence), destroys mutual respect and a trusting environment, can bring substantial personal harm to individuals, and violates individual rights. Such behaviors are prohibited and are not tolerated at Washington State University. This policy expresses WSU’s commitment to maintain an environment free of all forms of discrimination.
There will be no discrimination on the basis of race, religion, creed, color, national origin, families with children, sex, marital status, sexual orientation (including gender identity), age, genetic history, honorably discharged veteran or military status, or the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability, in compliance with (a) Presidential Executive Order 11246, as amended, including the Equal Opportunity Clause contained therein; (b) Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Act of 1974, as amended, and the Affirmative Action Clauses contained therein; (c) the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended; and (d) applicable nondiscrimination laws of the state of Washington.
Concerns and evidence of discrimination in all its forms may be reported to the local WSU Extension office. To do so, the complaint should be addressed to the county director. Upon receipt of a complaint, the county director shall act promptly to mediate, conciliate, or otherwise achieve informal resolution.
WSU Extension will take specific action to reach out in positive ways to persons who are underrepresented in Extension programs and activities, and to increase diversity in employment. This policy will be demonstrated to persons and implemented in communities through all reasonable efforts.
WSU Extension will not participate in any public meeting, nor provide services, nor use facilities of organizations in which persons are excluded because of their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or handicap.
Nondiscrimination Communication Statements
The WSU nondiscrimination policy will be communicated to the public through all appropriate WSU Extension public information channels, in mediums that reach persons hearing or sight-impaired, when necessary to ensure total understanding.
All WSU Extension material must include the nondiscrimination statement. This statement must be included on all printed and web-based material. Use the following statement to meet public notification efforts:
WSU Extension programs and employment are available to all without discrimination. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local WSU Extension Office.
For long term publications such as Extension bulletins and newsletters where space is not extremely limited use:
WSU Extension programs and policies are consistent with federal and state laws and regulations on nondiscrimination regarding race, sex, religion, age, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, physical, mental or sensory disability, marital status, sexual orientation or status as a Vietnam-era or disabled veteran. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local WSU Extension office.
Where space is limited or materials are used on a short-term basis, such as letters and news releases, or as a signature line on emails, use:
Extension programs and employment are available to all without discrimination. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local Extension office.
The nondiscrimination poster “And Justice for All” must be prominently displayed in all offices permanently used by WSU Extension in serving the public. The poster must also be displayed at all venues used by WSU Extension employees and volunteers.
Serving All Audiences
WSU Extension, as a land-grant institution, shall seek to serve the needs of all audiences. Balanced participation, or parity, occurs when the ethnicity, race, gender, age, religion, and economic characteristics of participants across our portfolio of programs are representative of the county population. A successful Extension program has balanced participation. Documentation of gender and ethnic groups participating in Extension programs is required. Documentation shall include demographics information of the participants attending WSU Extension Master Gardener programs and WSU Extension Master Gardener program volunteers. These data portray how balanced Master Gardener program participation is. Tools for collecting demographic information can be found on the WSU Master Gardener Program website.
All WSU Extension sponsored events, including those cosponsored with a Master Gardener Foundation, must be accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (section 504). All WSU units and event organizers should be familiar with and conform events to these guidelines.
All WSU Extension Master Gardener materials publicizing public or volunteer events, including any event that is cosponsored with a Master Gardener Foundation, must include the following reasonable accommodation language.
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication or program information, or reasonable accommodations need to contact (name of contact) at (address, telephone, email) at least (set a specific number of days, weeks) prior to the event.
Reasonable accommodations will be made for persons with disabilities and special needs who contact (name of contact) at (address, telephone, email) at least (set a specific number of days, weeks) prior to the event.
Separation of Church and State
The first amendment of the United States Constitution requires governmental neutrality with regard to religion. Government is restricted to secular purposes and must neither advance nor inhibit religion. Further, Washington State law mandates that all institutions supported by state funds be free of sectarian control or influence.
WSU Extension and its programs are obligated to uphold this principle. Extension events may be held in sectarian facilities provided attendance is open to persons of all beliefs.
Records must be maintained for a variety of purposes related to civil rights compliance. Work with the county director in your office to ensure compliance. A County Civil Rights Checklist and Filing Guide indicate the type of documents county offices must keep. Tools to collect volunteer and clientele demographic information can be found on the WSU Master Gardener Program website. An office filing cabinet will be designated as the civil rights file. Electronic records are also acceptable.
More information on civil rights and affirmative action can be found on the WSU Extension website: “Extension is for Everyone.”
Continuing Education/Advanced Education.
Volunteers must earn at least ten hours of continuing education per year to be considered for reapplication. County coordinators have the option of allowing up to ten hours of excess CE to be carried over to meet the following year’s CE requirement, but CE must be reported when earned. Program coordinators must preapprove continuing education and may limit certain categories of continuing education. Continuing education does not count toward a volunteer’s internship; nor does it count toward the annual service hour requirement. The purpose of continuing education is to improve volunteers’ knowledge and skill base for performing work as community educators in horticulture and environmental stewardship.
What Qualifies for Continuing Education?
- Horticultural courses given by WSU, including retaking basic Master Gardener training.
- Webinars, field trips, and workshops sponsored by Extension.
- Classes offered by accredited institutions, including community colleges, technical colleges, and universities.
- Washington State Department of Agriculture approved pesticide classes.
- Classes taught by professional associations such as Washington State Nursery and Landscape Association, Washington Association of Landscape Professionals, International Society of Arboriculture, etc.
- Time spent doing research preparing a Master Gardeners presentation which is then delivered to the community (limit of four times the length of the presentation).
- Time spent doing research for a newspaper or Master Gardener newsletter article which is then published (limit of four hours).
- Other activities, including training on how programs are planned, delivered, or evaluated; presentation skills; meeting facilitation; etc. may qualify. Contact your program coordinator for preapproval before listing them on your report.
What Does Not Qualify for Continuing Education?
- Trips and tours not preapproved by the program coordinator
- Garden craft or photography classes
- Personal research or reading not related to a Master Gardener project
- Travel time to and from events
- Anything outside the State of Washington, unless preapproved by the State Master Gardener Program Leader
Code of Conduct.
As a WSU Extension Master Gardener, volunteers will:
- Represent WSU Extension with dignity and pride.
- Respect all persons with whom they interact as a WSU Extension Master Gardener (fellow volunteers, Extension and other county personnel, and the general public).
- Conduct themselves in a courteous, respectful manner and refrain from profanity, harassment, disruptive behavior, or abuse of any kind.
- Provide a positive role model when working with youth.
- Respect and follow WSU, county, and program policies and guidelines.
- Comply with equal employment opportunity and nondiscrimination laws.
- Not consume alcohol, use marijuana, tobacco (including vapor products), or illegal substances while representing WSU Extension.
- Participate as team members within the WSU Extension Master Gardener Program.
WSU Master Gardener volunteers are representatives of WSU Extension and should dress in an appropriate and professional manner. This includes always wearing one’s name badge when serving as a WSU volunteer.
Clothes should be suitable for the activity or location. Office-casual is appropriate for speaking engagements, indoor plant clinics, and schools. Gardening work clothes are appropriate for demonstration gardens and some outdoor events.
Workers Compensation Coverage for Injury.
Volunteers currently enrolled in the WSU Extension Master Gardener Program, while acting in good faith within the scope of their official WSU duties, are covered under the WSU workers’ compensation coverage through the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) for injuries/illness resulting from their volunteer activities pursuant to RCW 51.36. Timely entry of volunteer hours into the volunteer database is imperative. L&I coverage may include hospital, physician’s care, prescriptions, ambulance, and other associated costs. Loss of income is not covered.
When a workplace accident occurs among WSU employees, volunteers, or visitors, supervisors are responsible for reporting, evaluating, and, when necessary, investigating the incident. Reporting and investigating all accidents is required by state regulations and is an integral part of WSU’s accident prevention program. Investigations are conducted to identify factors contributing to the accident and methods for correcting and eliminating these contributing factors.
Report all workplace injuries to your supervisor immediately, and seek medical treatment if needed. Timing is everything: WSU policy requires that all (major and minor) injuries be reported within twenty-four hours. Prompt reporting eliminates delays in benefits to individuals. For injuries that occur over the weekend or after regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm), reports should be submitted the next regular business day after the accident. Major incidents resulting in serious injury (e.g., fracture or amputation), inpatient hospitalization, or death are to be reported immediately.
In the event of an accident, the supervisor completes:
- The WSU Online Incident Report.
- And If…
- The volunteer receives medical treatment; or
- The volunteer is unable to work the next full or subsequent shift(s) as a result of the injury or illness; or
- Events and conditions involving a near miss or minor accident indicate that most likely injury or illness would have been serious.
- The supervisor completes the Supervisor’s Accident Investigation Report.
- And If…
When visiting a healthcare provider, be sure to indicate you were injured on the job and thus this could be a workers’ compensation claim.
The most up-to-date information on completing an injury/illness report can be found on the WSU Master Gardener Program website.
- Community Gardens are spaces where community members can rent a plot to grow crops for personal use or for donation to food banks or other community food program. WSU Master Gardeners may teach, demonstrate, support development, or administer a new or existing community garden. Maintenance of community gardens when no educational component is involved may not be counted as volunteer hours for WSU Master Gardener certification or recertification. WSU Master Gardeners may maintain a minimal bed to use for demonstration of sustainable gardening techniques or practices. Any produce from this bed will be distributed according to the rules developed for the garden. WSU Master Gardeners may not maintain any communal or individual plots. Any physical labor performed is done so as a private citizen, and WSU’s liability insurance will not apply.
- All participants in community garden efforts must recognize that WSU Extension Master Gardener volunteers are educators and advocates for sustainable gardening in their communities. In this spirit, WSU Master Gardener volunteers may assist community partners by:
- Leading community partners through a step-by-step process to develop a community garden;
- Helping to assess the suitability of a property for a community garden;
- Helping to design the garden, including layout of beds and common areas;
- Providing assistance in acquiring funding and grants, including in-kind donations based on the value of volunteer hours;
- Arranging for or leading workshops and seminars in the garden; and
- Giving one-on-one or small group instruction on activities such as preparing soil, planting, cultivation, harvest, pest management, etc.
- All participants in community garden efforts must recognize that WSU Extension Master Gardener volunteers are educators and advocates for sustainable gardening in their communities. In this spirit, WSU Master Gardener volunteers may assist community partners by:
Use of Copyrighted Material
Text, tables, illustrations, photos, graphics, video, and audio segments from the works of others, regardless of the source except for federal entities, are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced by employees, including volunteers, of Washington State University Extension without explicit written permission from the copyright owner or entity. Production of materials that contain copyrighted materials, except for brief sections of text treated as a quotation, must have written permission to protect Washington State University against copyright infringement claims.
Ideas or information from other sources may be used without obtaining permission, provided that the information is expressed in your own words and images (graphics, tables, charts, photos, etc.). When you use information previously produced by others, professional and moral ethics dictate that you give credit by citing the original source.
Questions about copyright should be directed to your local program coordinator, county faculty, or statewide program leader. More information can be found on the program website.
Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic Resources:
Protection of the environment and human health concerns everyone. To reduce the misuse of pesticides and promote safe and effective pest management methods, Washington State University (WSU) Extension Master Gardeners are required to subscribe to the following policies.
- I understand that as a WSU Extension Master Gardener my pest management recommendations must be limited to home gardeners. Questions concerning commercial crops, municipal parks or pesticide regulation should be directed to responsible authorities within Extension.
- I understand that as a WSU Extension Master Gardener, I may only recommend a chemical for home and garden pest management if that use has been approved and recommended by WSU. WSU recommendations of chemicals registered for home and garden use are contained in Hortsense and other current reviewed and approved WSU Extension publications.
- I understand that as a WSU Extension Master Gardener, I will provide both chemical and non-chemical pest management recommendations allowing the client a choice of strategies. I further understand that Master Gardeners do not recommend the use of ‘home remedies’ for pest management.
- I understand that as a WSU Extension Master Gardener, I am considered a volunteer representative of WSU. Therefore, WSU will assume liability for my pest management recommendations, but only if my recommendations are limited to management measures that are both recommended by WSU for home and garden use and listed in the reviewed and approved WSU Extension publications or other WSU-approved pest management references.
- I understand that the WSU Extension Master Gardener Program Handbook outlines the above and other policies that govern my work as a volunteer. A current copy of this handbook is available online at the state program website and through county program coordinators. Further guidance on approved pest references is also available on the state program website and from county program coordinators.
WSU policy regarding pesticides is included in the WSU Business Policies and Procedures Manual, section 45.65-70. Policy applicable to WSU Extension Master Gardeners (“Master Gardeners”), including Pest Management Recommendations is included in the Master Gardener Program Handbook (2020). The relevant passage from page 14 of the handbook is included below:
“When asked for pest management recommendations, WSU Extension Master Gardeners are required to provide an integrated pest management approach which includes information about cultural, mechanical, biological, and chemical methods. Pesticide recommendations must be made from home and garden sections of relevant current WSU publications or other WSU-approved materials. Only certified WSU Master Gardener volunteers are permitted to provide pesticide recommendations and may only do so in accordance with the WSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Pest Management Recommendations Agreement. WSU Master Gardener interns shall work in mentorship with a certified WSU Master Gardener or qualified faculty or staff to learn how to make pesticide recommendations.
WSU will provide defense and indemnification for WSU Master Gardener volunteer pest management recommendations only if all WSU policies and procedures are followed. Compliance with policies is essential for WSU liability coverage.”
The following references provide chemical and non-chemical pest management recommendations. Hortsense and Pestsense are focused on home gardeners. The PNW resources serve a broader audience, so Master Gardeners must ensure any pesticide recommendations they make using these resources include only those pesticides available to home gardeners. The PNW handbooks are available online. Outdated print copies must be removed from your plant clinics. Master Gardeners should advise clients to read and follow all label directions.
- WSU Hortsense Website was designed to “provide the user with integrated pest management strategies for the most common yard and garden plant problems occurring in the Pacific Northwest“. This is an excellent resource with which to start, moving on to PNW handbooks if the plant or pest is not listed. WSU CAHNRS & WSU Extension Hortsense.
- WSU Pestsense Website was designed to “provide the user with integrated pest management strategies for the most common indoor pest problems occurring in the Pacific Northwest.” This is a good resource for houseplant pests. WSU CAHNRS & WSU Extension Pestsense.
- PNW Disease Management Handbook “This handbook is intended as a ready reference guide to the control and management tactics for the more important plant diseases in the Pacific Northwest. … Master gardeners and homeowners may find this publication useful. However, many of the compounds listed under chemical control are available only to licensed applicators. Compounds generally recognized as safe can easily be obtained at local garden centers and supply stores. Some of these materials in the “Host and Disease Descriptions” section of this book are represented by the symbol H. This symbol simply indicates that the same product or a similar product with the same active ingredient is commonly available in home packaging.” Plant Disease Management Handbook | Pacific Northwest Pest Management Handbooks (pnwhandbooks.org).
- PNW Insect Management Handbook “This handbook is intended as a tool for making decisions regarding the control and management of important insect pests in the Pacific Northwest. Originally, it was written for commercial growers, county extension agents, consultants, field and nursery staff, and chemical industry representatives. In recent years we have added sections that are useful to Master Gardeners and homeowners.” Insect Management Handbook | Pacific Northwest Pest Management Handbooks (pnwhandbooks.org).
- PNW Weed Management Handbook “This handbook is designed as a quick and ready reference for weed control practices and herbicides used in various cropping systems or sites in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.” The Home Garden and Landscape Management section of this handbook may be of some use to Master Gardeners, including a listing of herbicides available to home gardeners. Weed Management Handbook | Pacific Northwest Pest Management Handbooks (pnwhandbooks.org).
- WSU Gardening Publications Website with over 100 WSU publications relevant to home gardening, most available as free downloads. Few of these include pesticide recommendations, but relevant cultural control methods are covered where applicable. WSU Extension Publications|Gardening.
- WSU Gardening in Washington State Home gardening publications available at the WSU publications website are also available here, grouped by gardening topic. Home – Gardening in Washington State | Washington State University (wsu.edu).
- Pest Leaflet Series (PLS) WSU Puyallup Plant & Insect Diagnostic Laboratory brief “bulletins” on problems received at the laboratory, for which no formal extension bulletins or other readily available information exists. Pest Leaflet Series | Plant Clinic Site | Washington State University (wsu.edu).
- Grow Smart Grow Safe Sponsored by Thurston County, provides home gardener information resources including pesticide product hazard ratings, Integrated Pest Management, pesticide alternatives. Home Page – Grow Smart, Grow Safe (growsmartgrowsafe.org).
- PICOL The WSU Pesticide Information Center OnLine database may be of use to Master Gardeners who want to view pesticide labels based on searches by pest, active ingredient, or product name. Index | Washington State University (wsu.edu).
Many of the reference books and resources in use at Master Gardener plant clinics throughout the state include pest management advice. These include publications by reliable authorities including university extensions in other states. These references are appropriate to cite if:
- Chemical control advice is based only upon that contained in the ten (10) Approved References listed above.
- Cultural controls advice is science and research-based, current, and relevant to gardening in Washington state.
For clients with questions about insect and plant identification or plant problem diagnosis that Master Gardeners cannot answer either because they are not permitted to (e.g., commercial, municipal) or because they have exhausted local Extension resources, the client should be referred to the WSU Plant & Insect Diagnostic Laboratories in Pullman (Plant Pest Diagnostic Clinic | Washington State University (wsu.edu))or Puyallup (Plant Clinic Site | Washington State University (wsu.edu)).
This information was updated in January 2022 by a team that included:
- Jennifer Marquis, WSU Extension Master Gardener Program Leader
- Jim Kropf, WSU Extension Northwest District Director, Interim Pierce County Director
- Tim Kohlhauff, WSU Extension Coordinator, Urban Horticulture, Spokane County
- Claire Cotnoir, Master Gardener, Skagit County
- Don Enstrom, Master Gardener, Lewis County
- Carrie Hill, Master Gardener, King County
We welcome your feedback and improvement suggestions via email.
- Fundamentals of Plant Pathology and Disease Management (.pdf)
- A Systematic Approach to Plant Disease Diagnosis (.pdf)
- Diagnosis: Origin of Damage Flowchart (.pdf)
- Plant Problem Diagnosis Worksheet (.pdf)
- Major Insect Orders Master Gardeners Should Know (.pdf)
- 30 Common Pests Master Gardeners Should Know (.pdf)
- Plant Clinic and Community Outreach Form (.docx)
- Plant Clinic and Community Outreach Form (.pdf)
- Program Priorities table handout (pdf)
- Program Priorities table (jpg)