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Duration (approx) 2500 hours
Qualification Advanced Diploma

Study for a new career as a consultant, trainer or manager in the nursery industry

Work in a nursery - suitable for management, technician, technical representatives, nursery management and consultants.

Specialise in your choice of options from - Horticultural Management, Horticultural Marketing, Botany , Propagation, Tissue Culture, Cutting Propagation, Soil Management, Plant Protection, Wholesale Nursery Management, Garden Centre Management, Sales Skills, Marketing Psychology and more.

A vital qualification for anyone wanting to work in Nursery management.


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Study for a new career as a consultant, trainer or manager in the nursery industry

  • Work in the nursery industry, as a manager, technical officer, marketing manager, consultant, vocational trainer, supervisor and more.



Core modules

The following FIVE modules are compulsory:

Biochemistry (Plants)


Instructional Skills

Business Studies

Workplace Health and Safety


Stream Modules

800 hours of study in compulsory modules (normally 8 x 100 hour modules).

Horticultural Management

Horticultural Marketing

Botany I

Propagation I

Horticulture I

Soil Management

Plant Protection

plus either

Wholesale Nursery Management


Garden Centre Management


Elective Modules

600 hours of study in modules (normally 6 X 100 hour modules), selected from the following:

Wholesale Nursery Management

Garden Centre Management (whichever was not previously chosen)

Horticulture II


Landscaping I

Fruit Production

Commercial Vegetable Production

Hydroponics II

Australian Native Plants I

Herb Culture

Orchid Culture



Optional Electives

200 hours of study in modules (normally 2 X 100 hour modules), which can be chosen from any advanced diploma accredited modules, from a wide range of disciplines, excluding Recreation Administration & Management I, II & IV, Agricultural Marketing, Farm Management.

* Students are to attain a current Senior First Aid Certificate during the course of study.



Three Research projects must be undertaken to satisfy the 300 hour nominal duration. Well organised study guides have been developed for Research Project I, II & III to work through in order to satisfy this part of the course.

Each project will deal with a distinct aspect of workplace activity, and culminate in a written formal report of a length appropriate to the nature of the project.



Curriculum documents have been developeed as a guide to 150 hours of learning through either face to face workshops or equivalent on the job learning. This documentation can be supplied to students living anywhere in the world so they  may work with either an ACS tutor, or a similarly qualified professional in their own workplace, or locality, in order to achgieve tyhis requirement. This part of the course is often left till near the end.



You must attend 100 hours (minimum) of industry seminars within the period of the course. These may include such things as industry conferences, seminars, or professional society meetings.



Compulsory Core Modules 


There are 9 lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction
  2. Lipids and Proteins
  3. Enzymes
  4. Nitrogen and the Nitrogen Cycle
  5. Photosynthesis and Respiration
  6. Assimilation and Transpiration
  7. Acidity and Alkalinity
  8. Chemical Analysis
  9. Biochemical Applications



There are 8 lessons in this module as follows:

1. Introduction

  • What is e-commerce
  • Security
  • How to Protect a Business
  • Marketing on the Internet
  • Searching for Data on the Net
  • Contract Law
  • Warranty and Conditions
  • Sellers Liability
  • Consumer Laws
  • Manufacturers Liability
  • International Sales Contract Rules
  • Setting up a Business
  • Setting up an E-Commerce Web Site
  • Bootstrap Sites

2. Success & Failure –What makes the Difference?

  • Introduction.
  • Awareness of Technology.
  • What makes an E-Commerce Site Successful.
  • Dotcom Failures.
  • Site Visibility.

3. Promotional Strategies – are different on the internet

  • Internet Code of Conduct.
  • Analysing the market.
  • Selecting Target Markets.
  • Developing the marketing mix.
  • Managing the marketing effort.
  • The Launch.
  • Promoting an E-Commerce Site.
  • Marketing Strategies and Plan.

4. Optimizing Web Site Potential

  • Monitoring Visitors.
  • Ground Rules Keep Changing.
  • Meta Tags.
  • Evaluation/Review Services.
  • Paid Services.
  • Search Engine Optimisation.
  • Main Page Content.
  • Searchable words.
  • Use of important Key Words
  • Page Titles.
  • Links.
  • Frequency of changes.
  • Good URL Structure.
  • Navigation.
  • Capture of Visitors.
  • Download Speed.
  • Graphics.
  • Targeting.
  • Site Maps.

5. Increasing Web Site Exposure

  • Marketing Plan.
  • Marketing Mix.
  • Advertising.
  • Personal Selling.
  • Direct Marketing.
  • Collateral Promotion.
  • Channels of Distribution.
  • Google Adwords.
  • Search Marketing.
  • Affiliate Marketing.
  • Free Content.
  • Web Banners.
  • Social Media Optimisation.
  • Digital Marketing.
  • Creative Buzz.
  • Community.
  • Guerilla Marketing.

6. Automating Supply of Goods, Services and Cash flow

  • Payment.
  • Ways to Supply Goods or Services.
  • Drop Shipping.
  • Outsourcing.
  • Payment Gateways.
  • SSL.
  • Getting a Merchant Account for Credit Cards.

7. Managing Constant Change

  • Resource Planning.
  • Constant Review & Development Strategy.
  • Outsourcing.
  • Understanding Technology.
  • Bandwidth.
  • Information Currency vs. Cash Currency.
  • Keeping a Web Site Current.
  • Web Analytics.
  • Change Management and Corporate Structure.

8. Dealing with E-Commerce Problems

  • Learning from Others Mistakes.
  • Determining Where it Went Wrong.
  • Legal Issues (eg. Privacy, Consumer Protection, Copyright, Patents).
  • Managing Risk.
  • Charge back.
  • Computer and Office Security.
  • Insurance.



There are 11 lessons with a written assignment to be submitted at the end of each lesson as follows:

1. Introduction to Training – Communication
2. Understanding Learning
3. Determining Training Requirements in The Workplace
4. Commencing Training
5. Developing a Lesson Plan
6. Assessment and Evaluation of Training Programs
7. Training Aids
8. One-To-One Training
9. Motivation Skills and Techniques
10. Promoting Training
11. Assessor Training



There are 8 lessons :

  1. Establishment Procedures – aims to teach the student how to select appropriate procedures for the establishment of a small business.
  2. Management Procedures – teaches the student how to select appropriate procedures for the management of a small business.
  3. Communication in Business – how to develop procedures for communicating with suppliers and customers of a small business.
  4. Problem Solving – how to develop procedures for addressing problems in a small business.
  5. Staff Management – looks at how to plan the management of staff in a small business.
  6. Productivity – learn how to develop strategies for managing production in a small business or department within a larger organisation.
  7. Financial Management – how to carry out different financial management tasks used in small business or department within a larger organisation.
  8. Marketing Techniques – Evaluation of marketing techniques used in business.



There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Nature and Scope of Workplace Health and Safety.
    • Work Related Fatalities.
    • Duty of Care: employer, employee, other person, manufacturer.
    • Significance of Illness.
    • Protective Equipment; personal protection, machinery, equipment, signs and information.
    • Further Information and Resources.
  2. Legislation
    • Legislation across different countries: Australia, UK, Canada, USA, NZ etc.
    • Examples: Worksafe Australia, Health & Safety Commision UK, Occupational Health & Safety Commission USA, etc.
    • International Commission on Occupational Health.
  3. Protective Equipment
    • Introduction.
    • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
    • Selecting and Maintaining PPE.
    • Hand Protection.
    • Eye Protection.
    • Hearing Protection.
    • Respiratory Protection.
    • Body Protection.
    • Knee Protection.
    • Foot and Leg Protection.
    • Sunscreen.
    • Head Protection.
    • Machine and Equipment Guards.
    • Flooring.
    • Protective and Temporary Barriers.
    • Temporary Signs.
    • Protecting Hearing.
  4. Handling Chemicals
    • Storage and Disposal.
    • Transporting Chemicals.
    • Protecting the Environment.
    • Protective Clothing.
    • Safe Use and Mixing Chemicals.
    • Toxicity of Pesticides.
    • Safe Application of Pesticides.
    • Hazardous Substances.
    • Personal Protective Equipment Plan.
  5. Handling Equipment
    • General Safety Rules.
    • Manual Handling.
    • Employer Responsibilities.
    • Employee Responsibilities.
    • Safety with Different Types of Equipment.
    • Handling Tools and Equipment Safely.
    • Machinery Safety.
    • Machine Hazards.
    • Machine Guards.
    • Welding Equipment, Compressors, Conveyor Belts.
    • Horticultural Equipment; Mulchers, brush cutters, mowers, chainsaws.
    • Tool Maintenance.
    • Safety with Electricity.
  6. Handling Objects
    • How to Lift.
    • Strategies for Manual Handling.
    • Skin Penetrating Injuries.
    • Risk Categories.
    • Preventative Measures.
    • Treating Wounds: First Aid.
    • Case Studies of Manual Handling Injuries.
  7. Using Computer Work Stations
    • Using VDU's.
    • Eyesight.
    • Repetitive Strain Injuries.
    • Carpel Tunnel.
    • Headaches.
    • Radiation.
    • Creating a Healthy Work Station.
    • Rest Breaks, Stretching, Posture.
  8. Working Alone
    • Duty of Care, Responsibilities.
    • Common Tasks Undertaken by a Lone Worker.
    • Mobile Workers.
    • Risk Assessment.
    • Risk Management.
  9. Standards and Rules
    • Introduction.
    • Identifying Risks.
    • Hazard and Risk Management.
    • Workplace Policy.
    • Risk Assessment Safety Audits.
    • Identifying Risks.
    • Audit Forms.
    • Safety Audit.
    • Safety Outdoors; fire, bites, potential accidents, cuts, strains, poisoning, allergies, etc.
    • First Aid; Shock, Fainting, Fractures, Strains, Sprains, Heat Exhaustion, etc.
    • Skin Cancer.
    • First Aid Supplies.
  10. Signs and Signals
    • Introduction to standard signs and signals.
    • Conventions in different countries; UK, Australia.


Compulsory Stream Modules


This subject involves 8 lessons as follows:

1. Nursery Site Organisation

  • Selecting the site (eg. Buying an established nursery or establishing a new site).
  • Determining facilities needed.
  • Site planning.
  • Estimating space requirements.

2. Management

  • Public and Commercial nurseries.
  • Management Options; Partnerships, companies, sole proprietorships.
  • Developing a management structure.
  • Labour relations and seasonal staff.
  • Work programs and production timing.

3. Nutrition and Pest Management

  • Field crops.
  • Container plants.
  • Principles of fertiliser use.
  • Plant nutrition.

4. Growing Media

  • Soils and soil-free mixes.
  • Rockwool.
  • Sterilisation techniques.

5. Irrigation Management for Production Nurseries

  • Methods and equipment.
  • Estimation of water requirements.
  • Use of liquid fertilisers through irrigation.

6. Modifying Plant Growth

  • Growth modification techniques.
  • Flower forcing.
  • Quality control.

7. Nursery Marketing Strategies

  • Exploiting existing markets.
  • Developing new markets.
  • Advertising.
  • Product presentation.
  • Pricing.
  • Plant recycling.

8. Selection of Nursery Crops

  • Developing a stock list.
  • Operational flow charts.
  • Market surveys.



There are 7 lessons in this course, as follows:

  1. Introduction to Horticultural Marketing
  2. Horticultural Marketing Processes
  3. Horticultural Marketing Methods
  4. Customer Service
  5. Horticultural Marketing Research
  6. Developing An Advertising Program
  7. Developing An Horticultural Marketing Strategy



The course is divided into 10 lessons as follows:

  1. Taxonomic Classification of Plants - History of taxonomy, Binomial system, Levels of classification, Families, Principle of priority, Name changes, Hybrids, Varieties, Cultivars, Abbreviations, Botanical keys, Key to Phyla, etc.
  2. Cells and Tissues - Types of Plant Cells, Plant Tissue, Primary and Secondary Growth.
  3. Specific Vegetative Parts of a Plant - Stem Formation, Leaf Structure and Leaf Arrangement, Root Structure.
  4. Flowers and Fruit - The Flower, Inflorescence (panicle, umbel, composite head), fruits (simple, aggregate, multiple), Reproductive Growth and Development.
  5. Seed and the Developing Embryo - Seed Structure, Food Storage Organs, Seed Coats, Embryo, Seed Germination, Requirements, Stimulants, Inhibitors.
  6. Photosynthesis and Growing Plants - Photosynthetic Apparatus, Process, Gas Exchange, Light transformation to Energy.
  7. Respiration - Stages of Respiration, the Krebs Cycle, Electron Transport Chain, Rate of Respiration, Control of ATP Production in Respiration.
  8. The Role of Water - Osmosis, Water Movement from Soil to Root, The Transpiration Stream.
  9. Movement of Water and Assimilates through a Plant - Mechanisms of Nutrient Uptake, Absorption and Transport of Mineral Nutrients, Translocation of Sugars, Adaptations for Water Storage, Food and Water Storage Organs.
  10. The Effects of Tropisms and Other Growth Movements - Plant Hormones, Tropisms, Chemical Growth Modifications.



There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Propagation
    • Asexual and sexual propagation.
    • Aseptic Micropropagation, Runners, Suckers, Layering, Separation, Division, Grafting, Budding, Cuttings, Seed.
    • Genotype versus Phenotype.
    • Plant life cycles -phases of the sexual cycle; phases of the asexual cycle.
    • Annual, Perennial, Biennial Life Cycles.
    • Propagation Terminology.
    • Nursery production systems.
    • Operational Flow Chart for Seed Propagation.
  2. Seed Propagation
    • Seed Sources.
    • Maintaining Genetic Identity of Seed -Isolation, Rogueing, Testing, Hand Pollination.
    • Hybrid Seed Production.
    • Storing Seed.
    • Types of Seed Storage.
    • Seed Biology -Endospermic, Non Endospermic.
    • Dormancy Factors Affecting Germination.
    • Germination Treatments -boiling water, stratification.
    • Terminology.
    • Seed Raising Technique.
  3. Potting Media
    • Characteristics of Potting and Propagating Media.
    • Media derived from rock or stone.
    • Media derived from synthetics.
    • Organic Media.
    • Soil Media.
    • The UC System.
    • Chemical Characteristics -eg. pH, Cation Exchange Capacity, Salinity, Conductivity.
    • Laboratory Testing of Media.
    • Physical Characteristics.
    • Potting Mixes.
    • Propagating Media.
    • Nutrition at the Propagation Stage.
    • Nutrition Management and Fertiliser Application.
  4. Vegetative Propagation I
    • Reasons to propagate by cuttings.
    • Types -softwood, hardwood, semi hardwood, herbaceous.
    • Stem Cuttings, Tip, heel, nodal, basal.
    • Leaf and Leaf-bud cuttings.
    • Cane cuttings.
    • Root Cuttings.
    • Bulb Cuttings.
    • Hormone Treatments for Cutting Propagation.
    • Other Cutting Treatments; basal wounding, anti-transpirants, fungicides, disinfectants, mycorrhyza, etc.
    • Artificial Light for Propagation.
    • Cutting Propasgation Efficiency.
    • Rockwool Propagation.
  5. Vegetative Propagation II
    • Care of stock plants.
    • Layering.
    • Division.
    • Terminology.
    • Managing Watering.
  6. Vegetative Propagation III
    • Terminology.
    • Budding and grafting.
    • Reasons for Grafting.
    • How a Graft forms.
    • Grafting Techniques; Types of Grafts.
    • What Plant to Graft on What.
    • Grafting Materials.
    • Root Grafting, Bench Grafting, Soft Tissue Grafting.
    • Establishing Rootstocks.
    • Tissue culture: Applications, Problems, Nutrient Media, Cleanliness, Growing Conditions.
    • Tissue Culture Procedures and Techniques.
    • Laboratory Requirements.
    • Terminology.
    • Biotech applications in Horticulture.
  7. Propagation Structures and Materials
    • Growing in a Greenhouse.
    • Growing Structures: Type of Greenhouses, Cold Frames, Shade houses.
    • Propagating equipment -Heaters, Bottom Heat, Misting, Light Control, Benches etc.
    • Managing a Greenhouse.
  8. Risk Management
    • Nursery hygiene.
    • Risk assessment and management.
    • Safety -tools, equipment handling, electricity, etc.
    • Pest and Disease Management.
    • Environmental Problems and management.
  9. Nursery Management I
    • Plant modification techniques.
    • Management policies.
    • Keeping Propagation Records.
    • Nursery Production Systems.
  10. Nursery Management II
    • Nursery standards, cost efficiencies, site planning and development.



There are 10 lessons in this module as follows:

  1. Soil Analysis
  2. Seed Propagation (including seed identification)
  3. Vegetative Propagation
  4. Potting up and After Care of young plants
  5. Planting
  6. Maintenance of Established Plants
  7. Practical Plant Identification
  8. Pest and Disease Identification
  9. Weed Identification
  10. Risk Assessment



There are 7 lessons as follows:

  1. Physical & Chemical Properties Of Soils
  2. Soil Testing Methods
  3. Sustainable Soil Management
  4. Soils & Managing Earthworks
  5. Land Degradation & Other Soil Problems
  6. Soil Science & Health
  7. Soil Management



This subject involves 8 lessons as follows:

1. Nursery Site Organisation

  • Selecting the site (e.g. Buying an established nursery or establishing a new site).
  • Determining facilities needed.
  • Site planning.
  • Estimating space requirements.

2. Management

  • Public and Commercial nurseries.
  • Management Options; Partnerships, companies, sole proprietorships.
  • Developing a management structure.
  • Labour relations and seasonal staff.
  • Work programs and production timing.

3. Nutrition and Pest Management

  • Field crops.
  • Container plants.
  • Principles of fertiliser use.
  • Plant nutrition.

4. Growing Media

  • Soils and soil-free mixes.
  • Rockwool.
  • Sterilisation techniques.

5. Irrigation Management for Production Nurseries

  • Methods and equipment.
  • Estimation of water requirements.
  • Use of liquid fertilisers through irrigation.

6. Modifying Plant Growth

  • Growth modification techniques.
  • Flower forcing.
  • Quality control.

7. Nursery Marketing Strategies

  • Exploiting existing markets.
  • Developing new markets.
  • Advertising.
  • Product presentation.
  • Pricing.
  • Plant recycling.

8. Selection of Nursery Crops

  • Developing a stock list.
  • Operational flow charts.
  • Market surveys.



The course is divided into 12 lessons as follows:

1. Introduction: Plant classification, plant cultural requirements, soil and nutrition, watering requirements, drainage, temperature, light, humidity.

2. Plant Health: How to diagnose a problem, pests, diseases, nutrient deficiencies, frost, sunburn, chemical damage, insufficient light, overwatering.

3. Stock Maintenance: Quality standards, buying new stock, inspecting stock, extending stock life, disposing of below-standard stock, watering techniques, fertilising, pest and disease control.

4. Display and Display Techniques: Display units, product location, sales area layout.

5. Garden Product Knowledge I: Plant containers, tags, soil mixes, equipment, tools.

6. Garden Product Knowledge II: Chemicals, fertilisers, baskets, terrariums, cut flowers.

7. Indoor Plants: Major groups, common problems, plants for specific situations, customer attitudes.

8. Container Stock: Trees and Shrubs.

9. Seedlings, Bulbs, Herbs and Perennials.

10. A: Deciduous Trees, Fruit, Nuts, Berries.   B. Seed.

11. Marketing: Pricing strategy, advertising, promotions.

12. Management: Staff control, staff productivity, work scheduling.


Stream Elective Subjects


There are 7 lessons in this module as follows:

  1. Identifying research issues and determining research priorities
  2. Acquisition of technical information
  3. Specialised research techniques
  4. Research planning and designing
  5. Statistics
  6. Conducting research
  7. Writing reports


There are 10 lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction to Irrigation
  2. Soil Characteristics and Problems
  3. Estimating Plant Needs and Irrigation Scheduling
  4. Drainage
  5. Types of Irrigation Systems
  6. Trickle Irrigation
  7. Design Specifications of an irrigation system
  8. Pumps and Filters
  9. Selecting the Right System for a plant
  10. Design and Operation of Systems



The 10 lessons are as follows:

  1. Basic Design Procedure A
  2. History of Gardening
  3. Drafting & Contracting 
  4. Basic Landscape Construction 
  5. Surfacing 
  6. Furnishings and Features 
  7. Park Design A
  8. Home Garden design 
  9. Design Procedure B 
  10. Park Design B 



There are 8 lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction to Temperate Fruit Growing
  2. Establishing an Orchard
  3. General Cultural Practices
  4. Tree Fruits
  5. Vines, Nuts & Berries
  6. Citrus
  7. Cultural Management of a Fruit Plantation or Orchard
  8. Marketing Your Produce



There are 8 lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction to Vegetable Growing
  2. Cultural Practices for Vegetables
  3. Pest, Disease & Weed Control
  4. Hydroponic & Greenhouse Growing
  5. Growing Selected Vegetable Varieties
  6. Irrigation
  7. Harvest & Post-Harvest
  8. Marketing Vegetables



There are 11 lessons in this course:

  1. How the Crop Plant Grows
  2. How to Run a Small Evaluation Trial
  3. Harvest and Post Harvest
  4. Tomatoes
  5. Growing Capsicums; Bell Peppers in Hydroponics
  6. Lettuce, Salad Greens and Foliage Herb Crops
  7. Cucurbits (Cucumber and Melons)
  8. Strawberries
  9. Roses
  10. Carnations
  11. Orchids



There are 9 lessons in this course, as follows:

  1. Introduction
  2. Cultural Techniques
  3. Eucalypts
  4. Native Trees
  5. Acacias
  6. Melaleucas, Callistemons and Leptospermums
  7. Grevilleas and Related Plants
  8. Ground Cover and Small Shrubs
  9. Commercial Applications



    This course is divided into 26 lessons over twelve units.

    1. Introduction and Herb Identification
    2. Culture (Soil, mulch, planting, feeding etc)
    3. Propagation (Seed, cuttings, division etc.)
    4. Plant Health
    5. Processing And Using Herb Products
    6. Harvesting and Storage
    7. The Mints (Mentha spp.)
    8. Lavenders and Thymes
    9. Other Lamiaceae Family Herbs (e.g. Sage, Balm)
    10. The Artemisias
    11. Compositae (Asteraceae) - The Daisy Herbs
    12. Umbelliferae Herbs (Apiaceae) - The Parsley Family
    13. Onion Herbs (Liliaceae) - (e.g. Chives, Aloe vera)
    14. Garlic
    15. Rosaceae Herbs (e.g. Rose & Strawberry)
    16. Miscellaneous Herbs
    17. Scented Geraniums
    18. Native Herbs (e.g. Boronia, Tea Tree)
    19. Companion Planting
    20. Natural Pest Control
    21. Designing Herb Gardens
    22. Home Herb Gardens
    23. Public Landscaping With Herbs
    24. Herb Nursery Management
    25. Herb Farming
    26. Herb Enterprises



    There are 8 lessons in this course:

    1. Introduction
    2. Culture
    3. Propagation
    4. Cymbidiums And Dendrobiums
    5. Cattleyas, Vandas And Other Commonly Grown Orchids
      • Australian Native Orchids
        • Growing Orchids: Commercial and general uses
        • Harvest and Special Project On One Group Of Orchids



        There are 8 lessons as follows:

        1. Introduction
        2. Culture
        3. Propagation
        4. Hybrid Teas and Floribundas
        5. Old world, species and lesser known varieties.
        6. Climbers, Miniatures, Standards and Weepers
        7. Making the Best Use of these Plants
        8. Growing A Commercial Rose Crop



        Graduates from this course may find employment in a large established nursery; or they may move toward owning their own nursery.

        It is important to understand from the outset though, that this is an industry which has increasingly been embracing technology, and in doing so, reducing manpower at the same time as increasing productivity and production levels. Many modern nurseries employ fewer people to do more work, with the help of machines and computers.

        Opportunities have never been better for self employment; and this course provides a onderful foundation for moving in that direction.

        Plants can be grown in the ground or in containers. Plants grown in the ground are dug up when they are to be sold, or sometimes transplanted and grown on in containers before being sold. Plants grown in containers are sold in the containers which they are grown in or may need potting on prior to sale. Container growing uses mainly imported soil mixes (or growing media). In-ground growing can take more space, might require a little more labour in some respects than container growing, and does require the nursery to be sited on suitable soil. (There are advantages to in-ground growing too though).

        New nurseries like many other small businesses, often fail because they haven't been properly planned. Nurseries can be started with minimal cash investment, but the size of the operation must be geared to the amount of cash invested. If the initial investment is small, then the nursery should be small and grow slowly. Even if a sizeable investment is made initially, it is wise to retain up to one third of the cash available to carry the business for the first couple of years. Nursery profits can fluctuate greatly from year to year. If the first year is a bad season because of pests, diseases, bad weather, or poor sales, then a reserve of cash is necessary to carry the nursery through to the second year.

        A new nurseryman is usually limited by lack of skills, knowledge of the market, and money available to develop the operation. It is possible to start a profitable part time nursery in the backyard...this type of operation will provide a supplement to a normal income, and at the same time, allow you to learn from your experiences. A serious business venture is quite different don't have the time to learn by making mistakes!
        New nurserymen should avoid growing the more difficult plants.  These plants often require more time and more sophisticated equipment to grow them. This means that they are more expensive to deal with. Plants which require a greater length of time to bring to a salable size should also be avoided, until the nursery is generating enough sales to provide a sufficient income, to keep the nursery profitable while you wait for the slower plants to reach a salable size.

        New nurserymen are advised to produce plants in the standard packaging (e.g. 125mm pots). You know that the product will usually be salable in this packaging!
        Low shrubs and ground covers are generally in higher demand in urban areas than large shrubs and trees. The highest demand for large shrubs and trees is with the rural community. A plant with a flower on it is almost always more salable.

        Organisation is Critical

        You can increase profitability a great deal by simply organizing and planning what you do in a nursery. Planning should be an ongoing process, not something you start then finish and forget about once a nursery has commenced operations. There are basic questions which should be asked over and over as you constantly review what you nursery is producing or selling, how you are producing or obtaining those products, and how you market your products.

        The aim of good organization and planning should be to:

        Reduce wasted time.
        Keep asking yourself: 
         "Can I get the same work done in less time if I do things differently?"
        In same cases mechanisation of tasks may save considerable time and labour.  In other cases simply rearranging the placement of propagating and potting-up benches will speed up the flow of plants and materials into and out of propagation areas.

        Reduce wasted facilities and equipment.
        Keep asking yourself:
        "Can I do the same work just as well (or nearly as well) without the expense of that extra equipment?"
        You should only buy extra equipment because it will lead to extra profit. It's a trap to buy equipment because everyone else does, without giving serious consideration to how it will affect your profitability. It is sometimes more cost effective to hire some types of equipment, particularly equipment that, while necessary to the nursery's operation, is only used infrequently. When hiring equipment, however, make sure it is readily available when you will require it.


        • 2,600 hours minimum nominal duration, including:
        • 2,050 hours approximately of off-campus correspondence study
        • 150 hours minimum of on-campus workshop
        • 100 hours minimum of off-campus industry conference/seminars/meetings
        • 300 hours minimum of off-campus workplace project(s)

        Being a self paced learning program, the student can study at a rate according to their ability and capabilities.  This course may be studied over 3 years or less on a full time basis, or up to 8 years on a part time basis.



        There are no academic pre-requisites for this course but it is expected that successful applicants have achieved an education level that will enable the completion of the course objectives.  Entry to this course is based on:

        • A person with 5 years industry experience;
        • Year 12 standard of education;
        • Mature age student.
        RECOGNITION:   This course is written to satisfy all relevant  competencies of the International Accreditation and Recognition Council.



        This is an exceptionally comprehensive course which is the next best thing to a degree. Graduates come away from this course with a very wide understanding of all that is involved in horticultural nursery work from the ground up through to higher echelons of management. A person with this sort of knowledge and in-depth understanding will always be highly sought after in this fascinating industry. Those for whom this course will have greatest appeal are likely to be working in the following areas:

        • Retail nursery management
        • Wholesale nursery management
        • Nursery owner/operator
        • Horticulture management
        • Supervisory & foreman roles
        • Nursery & propagation
        • Crops management
        • Hydroponics management


        LEARN MORE
        Enrolling is easy - just go to the box at the top right-hand side of this page.


        If you have any questions, or need help in choosing the right course for you please do get in touch with us - connect with our expert tutors, use our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE.

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        Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

        Towergate Insurance welcomes Professional Liability insurance applications from ACS graduates across all disciplines. Click here for more details.

        Meet some of our academics

        Dr Lynette Morgan (Horticulture)Lyn worked with Rivendell Mushroom Farm between 1986 and 88; and then as a research assistant and technician for a few years while undertaking university studies. In 1991 she graduated from Massey University with a Bachelor of Horticultural Science (Hons) which covered broad horticultural sciences, as well as nursery vegetable and fruit production. Throughout the 90's she worked in both the nursery industry and horticultural crop production, before establishing her own business "Suntec" which has built an exceptional international reputation providing consulting services; particularly in hydroponic crop production. Dr Morgan has a broad expertise in horticulture and crop production, and a keen appreciation of the global scene. She travels widely as a partner in Suntec Horticultural Consultants, and has clients in central America, the USA, Caribbean, South East Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.
        John Mason (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Nurseryman, Landscaper, Garden Writer, Parks Manager and Consultant. Over 45 years experience; working in Australia and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 100 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.
        Diana Cole (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Permaculturist, Landscaper, Environmentalist. Holds a Diploma in Horticulture, degree in geography, permaculture certificate and various other qualifications. Between 1985 and 94, Diana was a task leader with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Since 2001 she has been chairperson of the Friends of Mellor Park (with Stockport MDC). From 2005 she has worked exclusively in horticulture as proprietor of her own garden design and consultancy business in and around Derbyshire; and at the same time as part time manager of a small garden centre. Diana has been an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable tutor with ACS since 2008.

        Check out our eBooks

        Growing and Knowing FuchsiasGet to know fuchsias better. 124 pages of brilliant colour pictures and information about fuchsias. This ebook is a must read for anybody interested in fuchsias.
        Organic GardeningFor decades farmers have relied upon chemicals to control pests and diseases in order to produce saleable crops. In the ornamental, vegetable and fruit gardens reliance on chemical controls has also been the mainstay for many gardeners.
        Getting Work in HorticultureExplore what it is like to work in horticulture; how diverse this industry is, how to get a start, and how to build a sustainable, long term and diverse career that keeps your options broad, so you can move from sector to sector as demand and fashion changes across your working life.
        Commercial HydroponicsThe Commercial Hydroponics ebook is ideal for students, professional horticulturalists and those who want to build a strong foundation knowledge in hydroponics. The commercial hydroponics ebook explains how to set up a commercial hydroponics system, including growing techniques and equipment that you will need. The topics covered in this book include an introduction to hydroponics, site considerations, alternatives, plant nutrition, nutrient film technique culture, rockwool culture, aggregate culture, other techniques, hydroponics equipment, greenhouse operation, plant culture in hydroponics, Vegetable crops, berry and other fruit crops, flower crops, other crops, managing a commercial hydroponic farm and a troubleshooting guide.