Advanced Certificate In Applied Management (Arboriculture)

Study arboriculture and business management online by home study, learning how to grow trees, tree surgery and tree identification.

Course CodeVBS001
Fee CodeAC
Duration (approx)900 hours
QualificationAdvanced Certificate

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Learn business management and aboriculture in one certificate.

  • Learn arboriculture and business management
  • Turn your passion into a successful business
  • Gain essential marketing skills
  • Increase your horticultural knowledge
  • Save money, stress and time - study from home

Topics covered: Four core business units units covering office practices, business operations, management and marketing. Students then take three three specialist units of study relating to the selection and culture of plants, with an emphasis on trees. This study is then coupled with a 200hr workplace project to ensure practical skills and knowledge are of a standard required by industry practice.

This course is ideal for those already in the horticultural industry who want to specialise in aboriculture and gain specialised knowledge and skills . It is also ideal for those starting out and wanting to gain practical experience and knowledge.

Arborists find work opportunities both in self employment, and working for others:

  • In parks departments,
  • golf courses,
  • home gardens,
  • street tree management,
  • advance tree nurseries and landscape developments,
  • tourist parks,
  • historic properties, environmental conservation, etc


This course is comprised of:

Core studies - Four units (400 hours) of compulsory subjects for all students.

Elective studies – Three stream units for the development of knowledge in arboriculture

Project – a workplace project of 200 hrs relevant to your field of study. The project specifically aims to provide the student with the opportunity to apply and integrate skills and knowledge developed through various areas of formal study. Contact the school for more information.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate In Applied Management (Arboriculture).
 Business Operations VBS006
 Management VBS105
 Marketing Foundations VBS109
 Office Practices VBS102
Stream ModulesStudied after the core modules, stream modules cover more specific or niche subjects.
 Arboriculture I BHT106
 Arboriculture II BHT208
 Trees For Rehabilitation BHT205

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

What You Will Do

  • Learn to distinguish between plants in order to identify at least 50 trees.
  • Develop a standard tree report form, customised for surveying the condition and use of trees in your locality.
  • Explain how to different soil related problems that can effect trees.
  • Develop a twelve month program, for managing a health problem detected by you in an established tree.
  • Demonstrate bridge grafting across a bark wound.
  • Distinguish between different methods of pruning including:
    • Canopy reduction
    • Cleaning out
    • Topiary
    • Espaliering
  • Determine the minimum equipment required to commence business as a tree surgeon.
  • Compare different chainsaws, to determine appropriate applications for each.
  • Determine legislation which is relevant to a specific arborist in a workplace which you visit.
  • Explain how to plant a specified advanced-sized tree on a specific site.
  • Explain tree injection, including the technique and applications.
  • Identify situations where trees require strengthening operations to be carried out.
  • Compare different ways to control roots which invade underground pipes.
  • Calculate the cost of removing a specified tree.
  • Determine five appropriate tree species suited to a specific site visited and analysed.
  • Devise a method for removing a tree, including tree felling and stump removal.
  • Analyse three specimens of mature trees, from each of five different genera, to detect any patterns in problems occurring in those trees.
  • Develop criteria for the establishment of a tree plantation on a specific site which addresses; site restrictions, cost and function.
  • Compare different approaches to land rehabilitation, to determine strengths and weaknesses of alternative options on a site to be rehabilitated.
  • Determine techniques to maximise plant development in land rehabilitation situations.
  • Explain the different ways of producing seedling trees for land rehabilitation purposes.
  • Determine appropriate plant establishment programs.
  • Develop procedures to care for plants, during establishment in an hostile environment.
  • Manage the rehabilitation of degraded soil.
  • Explain the effect of plants on improving a degraded site, both physically and chemically.
  • Determine ways to better manage staff, administration and finance within an aboricultural enterprise
  • Determine improvements for the marketing of an arboricultural enterprise


Soils that are vegetated are more capable of removing, degrading or mineralising chemical contaminants then those that have no or little vegetation. The reclamation of soils contaminated with heavy metals using certain plants (known as ‘hyper-accumulators’) to uptake (some) heavy metals is called ‘phytoremediation’. In order for this to work, high yielding plants are used for the uptake and harvest (phytoextraction) of chemicals from the soil and into harvestable plant tissue.

The relationship between plants, soil microbes, soils and the contaminants in phytoremediation is a complex and intricate process; plants can uptake the contaminant (from water as well as soil) which is volatised (i.e. loss of a substance to the atmosphere through evaporation) and/or deposited into plant tissue. The root system of the plant also plays an important role in decontamination by improving soil conditions so that some contaminants are more easily degraded in the soil through micro-organisms that live in the root zone. This system is also used to clean up ground-water. However, it must be noted that the process of phytoremediation works best on soils that have low to medium contamination; high contamination will adversely affect the growth of plants as well as the microbial activity within the soils.

The following are ways trees might work to cleanse soils.

  • Phytodegradation: plants are used to uptake, store and then degrade contaminants within their tissue.

  • Phytostimulation or rhizodegradation: rhizospheric (root zone) associations between plants and symbiotic soil microbes are used to degrade contaminants.

  • Phytovolatilisation: plants are used to uptake contaminants from the soil and then transform and volatilise contaminants into the atmosphere.

  • Phytoextraction: plants are used to absorb, translocate and store toxic contaminants from the soil into their root and shoot tissue.

  • Rhizofiltration: plants are used to uptake and also store chemicals (and other pollutants) from contaminated water through their roots.

  • Phytostabilisation: plants are used to immobilise or bind contaminants into the soil, thereby reducing their bio- availability.

Growing Plants on Contaminated Soil

Environmental conditions can vary considerably even from one part of a place to another. You must choose the appropriate plants for the conditions; or alter the conditions offered to suit the plants you grow. Plants are normally most sensitive to environmental problems when they are young, so it is important to:

  • Ensure good levels of organic matter are added to the soil before planting; and after planting by mulching the soil surface. (Organic material buffers the negative effects of undesirable chemicals - think of the organic material as being like a sponge that soaks up the chemical. This is not a 100% accurate statement; but without a detailed chemical explanation; the analogy helps you understand the sort of affect organic material can have).
  • Ensure good drainage. Plant plants on mounds, reshape the ground to take away excessive water, or install drains.
  • Choose plants that can tolerate soil contamination (Salix species are often used as hyper-accumulators along with poplars and river birch and the Acacia, however in some countries these species have become environmental weeds, so plant choice needs careful consideration.
  • Ensure all other conditions for plants you grow are perfect. If the plant is not stressed in any other ways, it will better cope with soil contamination.


Arborists; tradesmen and professionals are employed to work in:
  • parks departments,
  • forestry,
  • municipal parks and gardens,
  • commercial and private gardens
  • street trees,
  • plant nurseries, etc.

Career Pathways
  • Knowledge and experience are equally important as a qualification
  • Don't make the mistake of assuming an apprenticeship will guarantee long term career success
  • Some start out volunteering,
  • Some start with an "assistants" job in a plant nursery or garden, where they start to learn about trees,
  • Others start with a course like this or even a more general horticultural course
  • If you can identify plants, understand horticultural science and have some experience caring for trees; you will be able to compete for job opportunities when they arise. The trick is to be in the right place at the right time, so you get noticed; and that involves persistence and networking.
  • People who learn and have solid knowledge and skills, are the people who advance through the ranks, getting promoted to eventually become a manager, consultant or business owner.

We provide advice and support to all of our students; and are happy to talk to you about planning a pathway that gives you the best chance of reaching the career goals you have set yourself.

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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.,
Martin Powdrill

25 years working in Telecommunications, IT, Organisational Development, and Energy Conservation & Efficiency, prior to setting up his own Permaculture consulting business. Martin has a Bsc (Hons) Applied Science (Resources Option), MSc Computer Studies, P
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.
Jacinda 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 year
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