Turf Care

Extend your business or career opportunities in the turf industry. Learn to establish and manage lawns: A great starting point to learn to make and manage quality lawns: small, large, private, public or commercial turf.

Course Code: BHT104
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn the Fundamentals of Lawn Care

Become a Turf Professional  

This is the ideal course for anyone wishing to undertake employment in a turf or lawn business, or as a landscape gardener. You will learn the basics in terms of turf grass varieties, soil management, cultivation techniques, irrigation and feeding of turfs used for different purposes.

  • Gain confidence with turf
  • Learn to plant, establish, mow and repair lawns
  • Save money, increase profitability - make the right decisions
  • Increase your employability or start your own turf business
  • Seek work on a golf course, sports ground, bowls club, or in a turf supply company
  • Learn to grow turf you can be proud of

Taking approximately 100 hours to complete it is suitable as a basic course for people working with turf, such as on a golf course or bowling green, or for keen amateurs who wish to make the most of their home lawns.

“This is the ideal course for anyone wishing to undertake employment in a turf or lawn business, or as a landscape gardener. You will learn the basics in terms of turf grass varieties, soil management, cultivation techniques, irrigation and feeding of turfs used for different purposes. You will also acquire more specialised knowledge of weed, pest, and disease control to complete a well rounded foundation in this popular area of study.” - Gavin Cole B.Sc., Psych.Cert., Cert.Garden Design, MACA, ACS Tutor.

Lesson Structure

There are 11 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Benefits of Turf
    • History of Turf
    • Turf Varieties
    • Lawn Mixes
    • What Lawn to Grow Where
  2. Turf Grass Physiology
    • Scope and Nature of Grass
    • Morphology of a Typical Grass Plant
    • The Grass Flower
    • Identifying other Distinguishing Characteristics
    • Grass Roots
    • Grass Shoots
    • Root Shoot Ratio
    • Recuperative Potential
    • Ways of Identifying a Grass
    • Key to Common Turf Grasses
    • Identification Tips for Rye grasses, Bents, Fescues and others
    • Descriptions of Major Warm Season Grasses; couch, zoysia, carpet grass
  3. Turf Establishment
    • Introduction
    • Soil Preparation
    • Seeding; seed quality, planting method, after planting care
    • Sodding or Instant Turf
    • Other Techniques; plugging, stolonizing, sprigging, chitted seed
    • Work Scheduling
    • Estimating Costs
  4. Soils
    • Understanding soil, introduction and texture
    • Soil Blends
    • pH, Buffering
    • Improving Soils Calculating Quantities of Soil Needed
    • Nutrition
    • Fertilizing Turf
    • Drainage
  5. Turf Weed Problems
    • Introduction
    • How Weeds are Spread
    • Non Chemical Weed Control in Turf
    • Chemical weed Control in Turf
    • Effective and Safe Herbicide Use
  6. Turf Pests and Diseases
    • Introduction
    • Chemical and Non Chemical Control
    • Dry Patch
    • Heat Scalds
    • Algae
    • Mosses
    • Chemical Contamination of Turf
    • Damping Off
    • Brown Patch
    • Fairy Rings
    • Dollar Spot
    • Rust
    • Smut
    • Pests occurring in Turf Grass
    • Review of Commonly Used Pesticides and Fungicides
    • Spraying Equipment
    • Domestic Lawn Care Program
  7. Turf Maintenance Techniques
    • Introduction
    • Turf Mowers
    • Mowing Guidelines
    • Length of Cut
    • Getting a Clean Cut
    • To Catch or Not to Catch
    • Pattern of Cutting
    • Cutting Steep Slopes
    • After Mowing, and lawn clippings
    • Mower Safety
    • Other Turf Maintenance Techniques
  8. Irrigation - An Overview
    • Water and Plant Growth
    • Managing water retention and loss
    • Understanding movement of Soil Water
    • Types of Soil Water
    • Testing for Soil Water
    • Estimating Water Needs
    • Irrigating Turf
    • Rate, Timing and Period for Watering
    • Cyclic Watering, Pulse Watering
    • Irrigation Equipment
  9. Playing Fields and Bowling Greens
    • Gradients for Sporting Facilities
    • Dimensions for Sports Facilities
    • Construction Procedure for a Playing Field
    • General Specs for Golf Course Preparation
    • Cricket Wicket Construction
    • Maintenance and Repair of Turf Wickets
    • Marking a Wicket
    • Treatment after Play
  10. Managing Established Turf
    • Introduction
    • Golf Course Care and Maintenance
    • Mowing
    • Watering
    • Renovation
    • Fertilizing
    • Weed Control
  11. Establishing Ornamental Turf
    • Introduction
    • Turf in Shade
    • Establishment of Ornamental Turf
    • Planning and environmental auditing

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.


  • Identify the range of grasses and other species available for turf culture.
  • Explain the management of soils for growing turf.
  • Identify methods for the establishment of turf.
  • Explain the management of problems in turf including weeds, pests and diseases.
  • Explain maintenance practices used in turf management.
  • Plan the development of different turfs used for sport.
  • Develop plans to establish a turfed area.
  • Develop management strategies for the care of established turf.

Take the Uncertainty out of Managing Turf

Lawns can be difficult to maintain, requiring more frequent attention and greater resources than other parts of a garden. Some people avoid having lawns so as to avoid the costs and challenges they bring; but a mown surface of grass is a necessary component of some landscapes, if they are to be used in the way we frequently want to use them.


  • Without a mown grass, how would we play a game of football, golf or many other sports?
  • What other surface is as good resilient and natural, for children to run and play on?
  • Would we sit or lay on the ground (eg. For a picnic) if we were unable to sit on mown grass?
  • A good strong covering of ground help prevents soil erosion and wind erosion on bare earth.
  • A lawn mown grass surface helps mitigate the effects of greenhouse pollution as it such in the carbon dioxide and cools the surrounding ground surfaces reducing heat( this is where the concepts of ‘green roofs’ come in)
  • Back in the 15th and 16th Century England a lawn was actually a mix of grasses and flowers such as clover, thymes, chamomile providing a green low growing surface and also a place for bees to happily collect their pollen and move to other areas of gardens and orchards for pollination.

Apart from the regular mowing watering is probably the largest expense for a lawn especially in dry rainfall and windy areas or during drought. Some turf or lawn varieties are much more drought tolerant and hardy than others. There are also types that suit sandy soils better than clays and also grow well in salty areas. 

What Varieties

Some varieties of turf will tolerate dry conditions far better than others. Often these are not the high quality grasses which we are most used to, but you should consider whether it is better to have a green lawn looks a little different, or a dead lawn made from your preferred grass varieties. There are lots of choices. Here are just a few.

  • Creeping Grasses such as Buffalo and Kikuyu are relatively drought tolerant
  • Couch –most couch grasses are relatively drought tolerant, but some more so than others. Conquest Couch   Native couch in some areas is more drought resistant
  • Some native grasses can produce a lawn that is hardier and more drought tolerant than couch; but it is slower to establish (It is also non-invasive)
  • Seashore Paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum) –very salt tolerant, and can be watered with salt contaminated water. A variety sold under the name “Velvetene TM” is even tolerant of occasional watering with sea water

In Unexpected Drought Conditions

Drought can create big problems for our lawns. At least most grasses are easy to re-establish and often instant rolls of lawn are available in a range of varieties, so these can be rolled out and a new lawn established fairly quickly in the original site. If it seems droughts may be increasing in your area, replanting after drought with more hardy species would be a sensible solution. 
There are things you can do though; often more than most people ever think about!

Understand the Impact of Traffic

Turf is unlike any other area of horticulture in one major respect: the plants are subjected to traffic! Traffic doesn't just mean vehicles though.  Traffic can take numerous forms when we are talking about the wear and tear of turf. The most obvious examples might be vehicular and human movement. This should be extended to include all activity in which the turf surface is subjected to some sort of foreign physical contact. 

Examples of traffic then, include:

  • golf course -golf carts and buggy wheels which compact soils human shoes
  • sprigs that rip and tear turf
  • golf clubs and ball which cause divots and ball marks or plugs.
  • animal grazing (which tends to be more of a rural problem).
  • parkland -human use including walking, laying down, might include erecting temporary structures such as a marquee, tent.
  • ball games of all varieties.
  • irresponsible vehicle use.
  • animal use

The amount of damage caused by traffic is relative to the amount and type of traffic, but other factors such as environment and turf species are also important factors. The resultant damage that does occur is called turfgrass wear.

Why Do Need To Study Turf Care?

This course can be an extremely valuable learning experience for anyone wanting a better lawn at home, or hope to build a successful career or business in the turf industry.

Better, more appropriate lawns will take more wear and tear without deteriorating. Children can play on them. Sports can be played. Even cars can drive over and park on a surface, and the lawn doesn't deteriorate so badly that it needs costly repairs.

Some of our students may be operating a lawn mowing or turf care business; others may find employment on a golf course or with a sporting club; and others may simply use this course to improve the quality and efficiency of lawn care in their own garden.

Lawns and sports turf surfaces can be costly both in terms of time and money; but when you know what you're doing, those costs can be greatly reduced. At the same time, the quality of your turf can be greatly improved.

Use this course to:

  • Expand the scope of your existing business as a gardener or mowing contractor
  • Fill in a gap in your horticultural knowledge
  • Give employers an additional reason to employ (or promote) you
  • Gain a credit toward a certificate
  • Become more effective at planting, establishing and maintaining a quality lawn or sports turf.

Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason, is fellow of the CIH.
Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason, is fellow of the CIH.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association.
Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
ACS is a Silver Sponsor of the AIH; and students studying designated courses are given free student membership. ACS and it's principal have had an association with AIH since the 1980's
ACS is a Silver Sponsor of the AIH; and students studying designated courses are given free student membership. ACS and it's principal have had an association with AIH since the 1980's
ACS is an organisational member of the Future Farmers Network.
ACS is an organisational member of the Future Farmers Network.
Principal John Mason has been honoured to be awarded a Fellow of Parks and Leisure Australia, having been an active member since 1974.
Principal John Mason has been honoured to be awarded a Fellow of Parks and Leisure Australia, having been an active member since 1974.
Our Principal John Mason, was awarded a fellowship by the Australian Institute of Horticulture in 2010
Our Principal John Mason, was awarded a fellowship by the Australian Institute of Horticulture in 2010
UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112
UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112

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.

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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 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.

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 $60 incl. GST 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 exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. 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.

Adriana Fraser

Freelance writer, businesswoman, educator and consultant for over 30 years. Adriana has written extensively for magazines including free living publications -Grass Roots and Home Grown; and has authored or co authored many books ranging from a biography to books on business and gardening. She holds formal qualifications in education, child care and horticulture and has worked with ACS Distance Education since the mid 1990's.

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 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, Jacinda 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".

Diana Cole

B.A. (Hons), Dip. Horticulture, BTEC Dip. Garden Design, Diploma Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Life Long Learning Sector), P.D.C.
In addition to the qualifications listed above, Diana holds City & Guild construction qualifications and an NPTC pesticide spraying licence (PA1/PA6). Diana runs her own landscape gardening business (Arbella Gardens). Active in many organisations including the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.

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