Certificate in Horticulture (Grounds Management)

Learn to manage gardens and landscapes.This course prepares you for work as a groundsman - in schoolgrounds, sports grounds, gardens, parks and on commercial properties.

Course Code: VHT002
Fee Code: CT
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 700 hours
Qualification Certificate
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Garden School Grounds Managers Course -Distance Learning Course

  • Learn Practical Skills and a Career in Professional Gardening
  • Self Paced, 600 hour course

'“This is beyond what you would learn in a Trade Certificate in Horticulture. It teaches you everything a tradesman would learn about plant culture; and more science, plus more plant identification than what an average tradesperson whould know” - John Mason Dip.Hort.Sc., Cert.Supn, FIOH, FPLA, Garden Author and educator.

The Certificate in Horticulture (Grounds Management) is a vocational oriented course comprising core studies (general horticulture) and stream studies in the maintenance of golf courses, parks and other large scale gardens.

The objective of the course is to:

  • develop general and broad based skills in horticultural practices and plant identification.
  • develop skills and knowledge in diagnosis and treatment of pest, disease and weed control problems.
  • develop knowledge and skills in turf selection and maintenance to a required standard.
  • develop skills and knowledge in the establishment and maintenance of ornamental trees and shrubs.
  • develop skills and knowledge in the management and improvement of soils for growing plants.
  • develop knowledge and skills about the selection and operation of a variety of watering systems suitable for the irrigation of plants and turf in amenity horticulture.

Certificate in Horticulture involves the areas of work:

*CORE STUDIES - involves around 350 hours, divided into 15 lessons, approx. half of the course.

*STREAM STUDIES - a further 350 hours of study specific to irrigation, soils, plant care, pest, disease and weed control and turf care.

STREAM STUDIES:                          GROUNDS MANAGEMENT

 

Through these specialised stream studies, the student will attempt to achieve the following objectives:

  • Design a plant assessment sheet to be used in the field to record information about plant health problems.
  • Diagnose nutrient, pest, disease and environmental problems of plants.
  • Dissect, draw and label a range of pest/disease problems.
  • Explain ten alternative weed control methods including chemical and non chemical treatments.
  • Collect, press, label and mount a weed collection and a pest/disease collection.
  • Explain aeration, spiking, coring, dethatching and topdressing.
  • Describe selective weed control in turf.
  • Select turf species suitable for a range of different situations (eg: for shade, wet and windy sites).
  • Describe the steps in preparing an area for turf.
  • Demonstrate the ability to prepare for, and sow a new lawn.
  • Explain how to establish turf on a steep slope.
  • Prepare labelled sketches of three gardens created using different growing methods.
  • Review and select plants suitable for use in each situation.
  • Describe the importance of trees to humans.
  • Describe the correct procedures for the proper and safe removal of a limb from a tree.
  • Describe simply the processes of photosynthesis, respiration & transpiration.
  • List the environmental factors which affect photosynthesis, respiration and transpiration.
  • Explain compartmentalisation, and it's effect on the spread of diseases in trees.
  • Develop contact with local people involved in garden maintenance.
  • Describe maintenance procedures for a variety of different ornamental garden situations.
  • Explain soil (seedbed) preparation treatments for a range of soil types.
  • Explain soil degradation problems in terms of soil chemistry and structure, and how to deal with them.
  • Explain different ways of preparing virgin or farmland soil for treeplanting.
  • Explain different ways of treating a soil using soil ameliorants.
  • Collect samples of or literature describing products which can be used to assist with the improvement of soils.
  • Explain situations where cultivation can be used to improve a soil.
  • Explain a situation where cultivation can be detrimental to a soil.
  • Classify different soils using simple hand feel tests.
  • Explain pH and conductivity (EC) and their affect on plant growth.
  • List the comparative advantages and disadvantages of different types of irrigation systems.
  • Explain the operation of different sprinkler heads, different microjets and different drippers.
  • Explain the way water moves through soil and the mechanisms which affect the soils water holding capacity.
  • Select an appropriate irrigation system for a selected garden, and explain the reasons why it is preferred.
  • Explain the operation of a timer used in irrigation systems.
  • Design a microirrigation system.

CORE UNITS:

1.  Introduction to Plants

Nomenclature and taxonomy, the plant kingdom, genus, species, hybrids.

2.  Parts of the Plant

How plants grow, plant structure, parts of the flower and leaf, modification of stems and roots.

3.  Plant Culture - Planting

How to plant and protect newly planted specimens, terms like: annuals, biennials, perennials, deciduous, evergreen and herbaceous plants.

4.  Plant Culture - Pruning

Purpose for pruning, rules for pruning, how to prune.

5.  Plant Culture - Irrigation and Machinery

Different irrigation systems, components of an irrigation system, designing an irrigation system, maintenance in the garden and for tools.

6.  Soils & Media

Soil classifications, testing soil, potting mixes, the U.C. System, ingredients of potting mixes.

7.  Soils & Nutrition

Fertilisers - deficiencies and toxicities, N:P:K ratios, salting, fertiliser programming, compost.

8.  Propagation - Seeds & Cuttings

How to propagate plants by seed or cuttings, propagating mixes, cold frame construction, after care for young plants. 

9.  Propagation - Other Techniques

Other methods to increase plant numbers - budding, grafting, layering, division and tissue culture.

10. Identification and Use of Plants

How are plants used in the landscape, how to choose and purchase plants, selecting plants suitable for the climate and site.

11. Identification and Use of Plants

Problems with plants and choosing plants for problem sites.

12. Identification and Use of Plants

Indoor and tropical plants, flowers, herbs, bulbs, ferns.

13. Pests

Identifying and controlling pests, chemical and natural methods for control, chemical safety precautions.

14. Diseases

Identifying and controlling diseases, plant pathology, fungi, viruses, non-pathogenic problems, interactions with the host and the environment.

15. Weeds

Identifying and controlling weeds, chemical terminology.

NOTE: The Stream Studies for this course will undergo a major revision and restructuring in the near future. The new structure will cover the same content, but be upgraded to incorporate three standard ACS modules. In doing this; we will improve many aspects of this course; among other things:  students will be able to better articulate into higher level courses.


Do You Understand What Tree Is Best?
 

Whenever you are choosing trees, whether for a new or old garden, always consider the following:

Eventual Height
Majestic forest trees are for country gardens and parks. They can be overwhelming in a suburban garden, casting too much shade and possibly creating problems with their roots. Should they drop branches or break in the wind they can cause major damage.

Spread of Canopy
Tall narrow trees create less shade than spreading canopies. Larger trees drop more leaves.

Density of Canopy
Denser foliage means more shade. Eucalypts (most of them anyway) tend to have rather light canopies and cast filtered shade; acacias, lilly-pillies and figs (Ficus) are denser and their shade correspondingly heavier.

Roots
Some trees are more inclined to have damaging roots which lift paths, crack foundations or block pipes. Some of the worst culprits are tall eucalypts in small gardens, Ficus blocking drainage pipes, umbrella trees, the lilly-pilly (Eugenia or Syzygium).

Number of Trees
Do you already have trees growing in your garden? Remember that extra trees will increase shade in the garden. The average suburban home should only have three or four large trees (i.e. over 10m tall) and they should be kept away from buildings, pipes and pavement.

Growth Rate and Lifespan
Some trees grow very fast – most acacias and eucalypts – but may have only 20 years of life (especially acacias). Others may be slower growing but will live for a century or more. It is a matter of balancing the desire for quick effect against long term benefit; you might plant fast but short-lived trees as “nurse trees”, planning to remove them in 10 or 15 years when the slower ones are coming to maturity. This course of action is really only an option if you intend remaining in your current home long enough to see the fruits of your labours.

Foliage
Try to get a variety of colours and textures in the foliage of the trees you use.

Flowers
Tall trees with attractive flowers are not always a good idea. Once the tree is fully established, the flowers may be so far above the ground that you might never notice them.

Bark
Often the most visible part of a tree is its bark. As such, trees are often better selected for their attractive bark than for the flowers or foliage.

Fruits or Berries
These can be long lasting and attractive, or they may be edible. Trees with berries will often attract birds and bats into the garden. One problem with fruit or berry trees is fruit falling onto pavements and driveways and making them messy. If you want low maintenance, position a lillypilly, Ficus or Pittosporum carefully.

 

AFTER YOU FINISH THIS COURSE

You will be a different person after you finish this course. That's what any good course should do for a graduate.

  • Your awareness and understanding of horticulture will be broader and deeper than it was before.
  • You will be able to identify more plants than you could before.
  • You will be able to better manage gardens, sports grounds, commercial landscapes and a whole lot more.
  • You have possibilities that you had previously not seen, to move your knowledge and career forward

You may use this learning experience to improve the way you go about a job you are already doing; or it may be a stepping stone to a whole new career or business.
Some graduates continue to grow their knowledge and skills even further through additional study (perhaps moving onto something higher); and others may grow through the work experiences that follows their course.

Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason, is fellow of the CIH.

Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association.


How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

You can see the course price at the top of this page. Click 'enrolment options' to see any payment options available.

You can pay by Credit Card, PayPal, Afterpay or bank transfer.

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We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).


What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding of the subject. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your login.training portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $55 (AUS) $50 (O/S) for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exams (8-9 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- an Advanced Certificate. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email acs@oamps.com.au.


Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.


How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.


What if I have any more questions or need more information?

We can assist you to find the right course for your needs. Get in touch with us via email (admin@acs.edu.au) call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.


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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Jacinda Cole (Horticulturist)

B.Sc., Cert.Garden Design. Landscape Designer, Operations Manager, Consultant, Garden Writer.
She was operations manager for a highly reputable British Landscape firm (The Chelsea Gardener) before starting up her own landscaping firm. She spent three ye

Rosemary Davies (Horticulturist)

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 (c

John Mason (Horticulturist)

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.

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