Operational Business Management II (Horticulture)

Study the management of horticultural enterprises learning by distance education about legal and staff management for horticultural, parks or crop production businesses.

Course Code: BHT327
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Study Legal, Contractual and Staff Management for Horticultural Enterprises

The ability to manage staff is pivotal in any enterprise (commercial or public); and in a society where law is becoming increasingly complex; the modern horticultural manager also needs to have a firm understanding of basic legal practice. This course focuses on building your capacity to manage staff and legal aspects within the horticultural enterprise.

This is module can either be taken as a module in one of our other study programs or as a stand alone course (Ideal for use as a Professional Development program for persons working in the horticulture industry anywhere in the world).

Lesson Structure

There are 11 lessons in this course:

  1. Materials and Equipment
    • Introduction
    • Power Tools
    • Hand Tools
    • Nursery Tools and Equipment
    • Weed Bags
    • Materials
    • Hard Landscaping Material
    • Fences
    • Statues, Sundials & Figurines
    • Soft Landscaping Materials
    • Horticultural Planning
    • PBL Project: Horticultural Equipment, Materials and Sundries
  2. Horticultural Calculations
    • Horticultural Mensuration
    • Calculating Areas and Volumes
    • Measuring And Calculating Soil Properties
    • Understanding Soil Analysis
    • Soil Sampling
    • Soil Colour
    • Soil Fertility
    • Tissue Analysis
    • Calculating Fertiliser Requirements
    • What Does a Plant Need?
    • Irrigation Requirements
    • When To Irrigate
    • Types Of Soil Moisture
    • Measuring Water Available to Plants
    • Available Moisture Range
    • Rooting Depths of Selected Plants
    • Estimating Water
    • The Water Needs of Turf Grasses
    • Deciding When, What and How to Test
    • Temperature Control in A Greenhouse
  3. Practical Risk Management
    • Work Safety
    • Conducting A Safety Audit
    • Audit Forms/Checklists
    • Using Tools
    • Safe Use of Chemicals
    • Safety Procedures When Using Agricultural Chemicals
  4. Machinery and Equipment Assessment and Maintenance
    • General Maintenance of Tools And Equipment
    • Power Tool Maintenance
    • 2-Stroke And 4-Stroke Engines
    • Common Problems with Petrol Engines
    • Oil
    • Chainsaws
    • Mowers
    • Hedge Trimmers
    • Manual Sprayers
    • Maintenance Of Watering Systems
  5. Propagation Management
    • Propagation: Media, Facilities and Locations
    • Ph
    • Conductivity
    • Salinity Build Up
    • Types Of Media
    • Propagation Facilities and Locations
    • Containers For Propagation
    • Nursery Irrigation
    • Sexual Propagation
    • Asexual Propagation (Vegetative Propagation)
    • Budding
    • Whip & Tongue Graft
    • Leaf Petiole Cuttings
    • Growth Control: Chemical and Cultural
    • Efficiencies In Cutting Production
    • Practical Exercise
    • Propagation Aftercare
    • Operational Flow Charts
    • PBL Project: Propagation Management
  6. Hard Landscape Maintenance
    • Protecting Outdoor Furniture
    • What Can Go Wrong with Outdoor Furniture?
    • Better Furniture Lasts Longer
    • What is UV Stabilised?
    • Painting Outdoor Surfaces
    • What is the Difference between Paint, Stain and Sealer?
    • Oxygenating Plants
    • Troubleshooting
    • Problems
    • Re-Pointing
    • Pond Management
    • Maintenance Of Play Areas
    • Maintaining Stone and Brick Walls
  7. Soft Landscape Maintenance
    • Pruning
    • Mulch
    • How To Aerate, Scarify, Top Dress and Fertilise a Lawn
    • Fertilisers
    • Minor Elements
    • Fertilising
    • Diagnosis of Nutritional Problems
    • Irrigation
    • Herbaceous Borders
    • Wildflower Meadows
    • Determine Harvesting, Grading and Packing Procedures of Crops
    • Environmental Control of a Protected Plant Production System
    • Environmental Factors
    • Problems With Greenhouses
    • Heating & Ventilation Systems
    • Thermal Screens
    • Insulation
    • Lighting Equipment
    • Day-Length Manipulation
    • Irrigation & Nutrition Control
    • Terminology
  8. Practical Plant Identification Techniques
    • Flower Structure
    • Different Types of Flowers
    • The Flower
    • The Inflorescence
    • Fruits
    • Seed Diagrams
    • Botanical Keys
    • Floral Keys
    • Leaf Structure and Arrangement
    • Terminology
  9. Pest, Disease and Weed Control
    • Weeds
    • Pesticides
    • Types Of Herbicide Chemicals
    • The Main Ways of Controlling Pests or Diseases
    • IPM (Integrated Pest Management)
    • Non-Chemical Pest Control Methods
    • Pests And Diseases
    • Law In Relation to Chemical Use
    • Diseases
    • Plant Viruses: Their Detection and Diagnosis
    • Virus Control
    • Pests
    • Birds
    • Bugs
    • Caterpillars
    • Leafhoppers
    • Leaf Miner
    • Mealy Bug
    • Millipedes
    • Mites Including Red Spider Mite
    • Nematodes
    • Scale Insects
    • Slugs & Snails
    • Thrips
    • Whitefly
    • Environmental Problems
    • Definitions Of Pesticide Terms
  10. Identifying Plant Tissues
    • Plant Cells
    • The Cell Wall
    • The Nucleus
    • Types Of Plant Cells
    • Plant Tissues
    • Plant Parts
    • Stems
    • Root Systems
    • Roots
    • Leaves
  11. Planning - Identifying Needs for Management of Horticultural Sites
    • Pre-Planning
    • Managing Risk
    • Quality Management Systems
    • Work Scheduling
    • Planning A Nursery Operation
    • Nursery Standards
    • Production Systems
    • Production Plan
    • Production Methods
    • Efficiencies In Cutting Production
    • Practical Exercise
    • Developing A Nursery Stocklist
    • Criteria For Selecting Plants
    • Quarantine Issues When Selecting Stock
    • PBL Project: Horticultural Planning

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Discuss, examine and evaluate legal systems and laws that are relevant to the management of horticultural enterprises.
  • Examine, evaluate and debate the elements that comprise the making of valid contracts in the horticulture industry.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the principal areas of employment legislation
  • Compare financial management requirements for a series of optional horticultural enterprises in two or more different countries.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the principal areas of performance management & staffing within a business environment.
  • Determine and apply an understanding of motivation theory to better manage staff performance within a horticultural business environment

Getting the Right Staff makes a Big Difference

If you don't have effective staff; management of operations will be an up hill battle.

Recruitment is the development of a pool of applicants for a job. This can occur internally or externally. Internal recruitment will come from employees already working in the organisation. The advantage is the understanding they already have of the facility and the opportunity to move upward within the organisation may encourage staff to remain with the company, work hard and succeed.

A disadvantage of internal recruitment is lack of skills or talent within existing employees creating a limited applicant pool leading to poor selection decisions.

External recruitment brings in new blood to the organisation which can inspire innovation. The most frequently used source of outside applicants is newspaper advertisements, employee referrals and college campus recruiting. It is becoming more popular for organisations to utilise electronic media such as the Internet both to advertise job openings and to gather applicant information.

Selection of staff can occur through interviews being the most popular ways. Questions asked by the interviewee have to be appropriate and job related. During an unstructured interview different questions are asked of the interviewees and follow up questions can also be asked to find out more about the candidates.

Although selection and recruitment are the main functions on human resource management however employee resourcing should not be seen as a simply as a technique for filling a job.

Employee resourcing can also be seen as:

  • Ways to make organisational change
  • Ways to develop and sustain employee commitment
  • Ways to achieve high levels of performance

This can be achieved by:

  • Using various recruitment methods
  • Analysing the available human resources within a company
  • Deploying the right people to the right job ie. new employees, promoting existing employees, redeploying existing employees.
  • New forms of work contracts


Today businesses use varied techniques and criteria to find the right (or best) person for a particular job this may include:

  • Biographical data – ie. work history
  • Interviews
  • Psychometric tests – to match psychological attributes to the job
  • Simulated work samples (eg. typing tests)

More emphasis is also being placed on the personality and attitude of applicants rather then just ability. The flow on from this approach is:

  • New employees are more likely to fit into the corporate/business culture
  • They are more likely to understand and aspire to company goals
  • They are more likely to be happy to build a career within the organisation

Finding Professionals

If you have strong networks, through industry bodies or social media (for example), you may have good prospects for employment waiting in the wings. If not though, you might need help.

Companies often use resourcing professionals to:

  • Analyse job applications
  • Interview and select appropriate applicants
  • Pass on the ‘best’ to be interviewed by the company.

For small business however this is often financially prohibitive so they must develop their own selection criteria. In either case the resourcing policies, procedures and systems must correlate with the strategic goals of the business.

How this Course may help you

This course builds on and adds to the financial aspects or running businesses introduced in Operational Business Management I (Horticulture). It also examines the legal aspects of operational procedures usually associated with higher tier management in larger businesses, but which may be part and parcel of daily roles of management in smaller businesses. The inclusion of two large problem based learning projects allows students some flexibility in exploring legal and financial operations pertinent to the sector of the industry they are involved in.

People who may be interested in this course include those who are work in, or who hope to work in:  

  • Horticulture retail
  • Horticulture wholesale
  • Plant nurseries
  • Landscape businesses
  • General horticulture

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
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This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

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.

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More information is here

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Course Contributors

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

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.

Yvonne Sharpe

RHS Cert.Hort, Dip.Hort, M.Hort, Cert.Ed., Dip.Mgt. Over 30 years experience in business, education, management and horticulture. Former department head at a UK government vocational college. Yvonne has traveled widely within and beyond Europe, and has worked in many areas of horticulture from garden centres to horticultural therapy. She has served on industry committees and been actively involved with amateur garden clubs for decades.

Adriana Fraser (Horticulturist)

Over 30 years working in horticulture, as a gardener, propagator, landscape designer
, teacher and consultant. Adriana has spent much of her life living on large properties, developing and maintaining her own gardens, and living a semi self sufficient lifestyle. She has decades of practical experience growing her own fruit, vegetables and herbs, and making her own preserves. She is well connected with horticulture professionals across Australia, and amongst other things, for a period, looked after Australia's national collection of Thymus. Advanced Diploma in Horticulture, Advanced Certificate in Horticulture.

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