Certificate In Arboriculture

Course CodeVHT090
Fee CodeCT
Duration (approx)600 hours

Work with confidence in the arboriculture sector

This course develops the knowledge and skills needed to work in arboriculture, and provides essential background training in plant identification, selection and care.

  • 6 specific modules - no time wasted on useless courses
  • Get horticultural and arboriculture knowledge and skills
  • Study from home - no hassles, save time and money
  • Work with confidence and passion
  • Learn all aspects of tree care

Recognised by the International Accreditation and Recognition Council (IARC)

This certificate focuses on the culture and care of trees, providing a sound foundation for any working or hoping to work with tree establishment or maintenance. Unlike many other courses in arboriculture, this course also provides a broad foundation across all aspects of horticulture.

“An entry level course – it enables you work with confidence in the arboriculture sector. Rather then just learning how to cut down trees (as is the case in so many courses in this sector) This course also covers general horticultural knowledge - very important in the general care of trees it also helps to expand the services you are able to offer.” - Adriana Fraser Cert.Hort., Cert.Child Care, Adv.Cert.App.Mgt., Cert IV Assessment and Training, Adv.Dip.Hort, ACS Tutor.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Certificate In Arboriculture.
 Arboriculture I BHT106
 Horticulture I BHT101
 Plant Selection And Establishment BHT107
 Arboriculture II BHT208
 Trees For Rehabilitation BHT205
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 1 of the following 2 modules.
 Deciduous Trees BHT244
 Plant Protection BHT207

Note that each module in the Certificate In Arboriculture is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

Prepare Before and After You Plant

Consider The Site

Does it have any particular problems which should be treated?

  • Hard clay soils need to be loosened up by cultivation, or by adding soil conditioners such as lime or gypsum, or by incorporating organic matter, such as well rotted manures and compost.
  • Sandy soils can sometimes dry out too easily or be low in nutrients. To overcome these problems add well rotted manures or compost, or wetting agents.
  • Check soil pH (the degree of acidity or alkalinity). Most plants prefer a slightly acid or neutral soil (pH of about 6 to 7.5). Some plants such as Camellias, Azaleas, Daphne and Citrus prefer a pH that is a little more acid than this (less than 6), while other plants (eg. Lilacs) prefer a pH slightly more alkaline. Simple test kits can be readily obtained from nurseries, garden centers, etc. You can then either choose plants that like the pH of your soil/growing media, or you might alter the pH to suit the plants you wish to grow. pH can be raised by the addition of lime, or lowered by the addition of acidifying materials such as Manures, Sulphate of Ammonia, or Sulphur powder (only for small areas as it is relatively expensive).
  • Provide wind breaks or channel winds with fences or planting, to both protect tender plants and ensure good ventilation (If the garden is totally enclosed, air movement is restricted, and that can result in an increase in diseases.
  • If necessary, select plants to grow that will tolerate or even prefer periods of shade.

Build Up the Soil

Before you even start a new garden, make sure the soil is in top condition. Make sure drainage, nutrition, the soil type (e.g. sandy, clayey), and the structure of the soil is suitable for the plants you wish to grow. This may involve laying drainage pipes; applying fertilizers, gypsum (to improve the structure of clay soils) or lime; or digging in manure & compost. Thoroughly get rid of existing weeds.

Use Healthy Plants

Healthy plants are more likely to resist damage from pests and diseases, and more likely to recover if they are attacked. The roots and top growth of the plant should be well developed. There should be no deformed growths (eg: twisted, distorted leaves, swellings on roots). Avoid plants with badly marked leaves. Don't use plants contaminated with insects or other pests. Seeds and bulbs should be fresh, free of abnormal markings or any rots.

Keep thing Clean

Remove any diseased fruit, flowers, leaves, or other plant parts, and burn them (do not compost them or let them lay on the ground!). Wash soil off paths, pavers, concrete areas - soil tracked from one area to another may spread disease. Sit plants in containers on stones or paving, or on top of a couple of bricks (not directly on top of soil). This minimises movement of pest & disease organisms from the soil up into the pot. Keep hoses, particularly the nozzles stored off the ground, ideally on a reel or rack to minimise contact with the ground where they may come in contact with disease organisms.

Maintain Nutrients and Water

Do not over water or underwater...both are as bad as each other! Over watering (waterlogging) is indicated by yellowing of the lower leaves, sometimes wilting and eventually dropping of the lower leaves. Under watering is indicated by browning of the tips and foliage generally, and at times by severe wilting and leaf drop. Lack of nutrients is indicated by a slow rate of growth, and in severe cases, by discolouration patterns on leaves.

In small gardens you need to keep the deepest roots moist; otherwise you will encourage roots to come to the surface in search of water. Do this by giving the garden a good soaking less often, rather than frequent light irrigations. A drip irrigation system is ideal for this purpose.

Inspect Plants

Look at the growing tips first. The young growth will indicate general vigor (or lack of it). The soft tips are also the area of the plant most commonly attacked. Look for die‑back, discolouration of leaves or wood, distortion of growth, rots, eaten or broken tissue. If pest or disease problems are noticed then treat them as soon as possible to prevent further decline in the health of the plant/s, and to minimise the likelihood of the problem spreading.


  • Support:  communicate directly with staff . Answering you is our top priority
  • Different:  if your training is different, you stand out
  • Resources:  unique collection of people and intellectual property.
  • Flexibility:  more options for how, where, when and what you study
  • Learning is top priority: what you learn changes you for life. Everything else is secondary
  • Better value:   Compare our cost per study hour.
  • Reliability:  Established since 1979, and being independent means we have avoided the stresses suffered by many other institutions
  Rosemary Davies

Leading horticultural expert in Australia. Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening in Victoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer. She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe. In 1999 Rosemary was BPW Bendigo Business Woman of the Year and is one of the founders and the Patron, of the Friends of the Bendigo Botanic gardens. She has completed her 6th book this year and is working on concepts for several others. Rosemary has a B Ed, BSc Hort, Dip Advertising & Marketing
  John Mason

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 70 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
  Gavin Cole

B.Sc., Cert.Garden Design. Landscape Designer, Operations Manager, Consultant, Garden Writer. He was operations manager for a highly reputable British Landscape firm (The Chelsea Gardener) before starting up his own landscaping firm. He spent three years working in our Gold Coast office, as a tutor and writer for Your Backyard (gardening magazine) which we produced monthly for a Sydney punlisher between 1999 and 2003. Since then, Gavin has contributed regularly to many magazines, co authored several gardening books and is currently one of the "garden experts" writing regularly for the "green living" magazine "Home Grown".
  Bob James

Horticulturalist, Agriculturalist, Environmental consultant, Businessman and Professional Writer. Over 40 years in industry, Bob has held a wide variety of senior positions in both government and private enterprise. Bob has a Dip. Animal Husb, B.App.Sc., Grad.Dip.Mgt, PDC
  Growing Conifers
The great thing about conifers is they look good all year round. Most of them are grown for foliage, and in general, foliage remains the same pretty well all year. Unlike other trees and shrubs, you do not have a month of attractive flowers, followed by an obscure plant the remainder of the year. A brilliant blue of gold foliage conifer will be blue or gold month in, month out.
  Trees and Shrubs
Useful for students, tradespeople already working in the field, or the home gardener who needs a quick reference when choosing plants for a garden.
  Growing Trees & Shrubs for Small Gardens
Turn even the smallest space into a great place. This e-book is an essential guide for any gardener who wants to make the most of a small garden, balcony, verandah or courtyard.
  What to Plant Where
A great guide for choosing the right plant for a particular position in the garden. Thirteen chapters cover: plant selection, establishment, problems, and plants for wet areas. Shade, hedges and screens, dry gardens, coastal areas, small gardens, trees and shrubs, lawns and garden art.