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Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate

Certificate Level Course in Arboriculture,

for anyone interested in learning more about the culture and care of trees.

"Work in arboriculture. A vocationally based qualification for anyone interested in working in arboriculture".
This certificate focuses on the culture and care of trees, providing a sound foundation for any working or hoping to work with tree establishment or maintenance. Unlike many other courses in arboriculture, this course also provides a broad foundation across all aspects of horticulture.





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Learn more about the culture and care of trees, tree establishment and maintenance

  • Learn to identify lots of different trees; and other plants
  • Learn techniques for planting, maintaining and managing trees
  • Work in arboriculture

To work in the challenging and stimulating arboriculture industry you need fundamental knowledge and understanding of trees, their amenity value and their indisputable value to the environment. Such knowledge includes the maintenance and management of trees; tree assessment for health, monetary or environmental value, fundamentals of planting, transplanting, pruning, site planning, identification and treatment of pests diseases, nutritional and other disorders, tree surgery, aftercare and advice and tree removal.

Trees are the longest living organisms on Earth, they benefit the community and improve our quality of life in almost immeasurable ways. They create the oxygen we breathe, reduce air and water pollution and uptake water to help reduce storm water run-off. They also provide shade, beauty, sound barriers, windbreaks and reduce summer urban heat.

If a tree is growing in a favourable environment and its genetic make-up also favours that environment it will be healthy and grow to optimum size and shape. A knowledgeable arborist understands that this is not always the case and sometimes, through environmental or other factors, trees will need help. They will also know that working with trees is about more than felling them; once a tree is removed it cannot be put back! Arborists are there to encourage and maintain healthy, growing trees where at all possible; their work therefore has an important role in the community.

Opportunities in this growing industry include employment in private specialist contracting businesses, self-employment, local and state government positions. Activities include the maintenance and care of trees and large shrubs in private gardens, public parks, reserves, bushland reserves, recreational areas, industrial complexes, housing estates and institutions.


This course develops the knowledge and skills needed to work in arboriculture, and provides essential background training in plant identification, selection and care.



The Course is made up of six modules. You can find more information on them by following the links below -


More Information on the Modules - 

Part 1:

Module 1 Horticulture l

This module provides a broad foundation in horticulture, with a particularly strong focus on plant identification. You develop a sound broad technical grounding in horticultural principles and practices, including:  Identification and culture for 80 different types of plants, The systematic way plants are classified; Structure and parts of a flower, leaf shapes; Different ways to control weeds; Simple soil tests; Plant nutrition; Soil types Identifying pest and disease problems; How and why to prune different plants, Garden design, etc.

 There are 12 lessons in this course:
  1.     Plant Identification
  2.     Planting and Establishing plants.
  3.     Soils
  4.     Plant Nutrition
  5.     Water Management
  6.     Pruning
  7.     Weeds And Weed Control
  8.     Pests, Diseases And Their Control
  9.     Landscaping
  10.     Propagation
  11.     Lawns
  12.     Arboriculture.

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.


  • Distinguish between different plants, to enable identification of the plant species.
  • Explain appropriate procedures for establishing a range of plants in different conditions.
  • Describe the characteristics of plant growing media necessary for healthy plant growth.
  • Explain the characteristics of plant nutrition necessary for healthy plant growth.
  • Determine appropriate water management procedures for healthy plant growth.
  • Understand appropriate procedures for pruning plants on a horticultural site.
  • Determine solutions for the management of a range of common weeds.
  • Determine solutions for the management of a range of common pests and diseases.
  • Prepare a concept plan for the development of a garden.
  • Understand commonly used plant propagation techniques.
  • Develop guidelines for general lawn care.
  • Develop guidelines for general tree care in a horticultural situation.

What You Will Do 

  • Distinguish between plants in order to identify at least 120 plants on plant review sheets.
  • Plant out a container plant following a recommended procedure.
  • Sample and carry out simple tests on different soils.
  • Identify a range of nutrient problems in plants.
  • Identify a range of pest and disease problems in plants.
  • Demonstrate the correct procedure for pruning a plant.
  • Identify a range of different plants, based on their flower and leaf structures.
  • Determine appropriate procedures for planting according to type of plant and site.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of how to care for plants in the garden.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of appropriate plant selection for a range of different sites.
  • Identify a range of plant health problems and describe appropriate chemical and non-chemical control methods to control those problems.
  • Identify characteristics of plant growing media necessary for healthy plant growth.
  • Explain the importance of organic matter in soil management.
  • Describe the principles and techniques of composting.
  • Determine nutrient problems and describe chemical and non-methods for overcoming these problems.
  • Identify management solutions to a range of plant problems including weeds, pests and diseases.
  • Explain the principles of Integrated Pest Management.
  • Determine appropriate water management practices applicable to plant growth.
  • Describe the characteristics of irrigation and drainage systems.
  • Describe the importance of pruning to plant growth, flowering and fruiting.
  • Describe safe use of chemicals.
  • Develop criteria for selecting suitable plants for a landscape project.
  • Prepare concept plans for landscape redevelopment.
  • Draw a concept plan for a garden redevelopment.
  • Demonstrate the correct procedure for taking cuttings from a range of plants.
  • Distinguish between different pre-germination seed requirements and techniques, for different plant species.
  • Determine appropriate turf species for different purposes and chosen climatic conditions.
  • Explain the composition of lawn seed mixes and fertilizers.
  • Observe and report on lawn management techniques.
  • Determine solutions to lawn problems.
  • Explain the cause and effect of common tree problems.
  • Determine appropriate methods for treating tree problems.


Module 2 Arboriculture 1

This module develops your skills and understanding in diagnosis and treatment of tree disorders, whether pests, diseases, nutritional or water problems, or something else. You learn about the standard tree surgery practices, to prune and train both young and established trees, and safety measures to follow. 

There are 8 lessons in this course: 

  1. Introduction to Arboriculture     
  2. Tree Biology
  3. Soils In Relation to Trees
  4. Diagnosing Tree Problems
  5. Tree Surgery
  6. Pruning of Trees
  7. Aboriculture Equipment
  8. Workplace Health and Safety
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.



This module develops an understanding of environmental systems and the rehabilitation of degraded landscapes. You learn about seed collection, storage and germination, propagation, plant selection, establishment techniques, controlling pest & disease after planting. 

There are ten lessons are as follows...

1. Approaches To Land Rehabilitation: The Importance of Trees, Understanding Plants, Plant Identification, Land Management Programs, Soil Degradation, Biodiversity, Salinity, Erosion, Soil Compaction and Acidification, Land Rehabilitation.

 2. Ecology Of Soils And Plant Health: The Ecosystem, Biomass, Web of Life, Indigenous Species, Creating Habitat for Wildlife through Corridors, Design Considerations, Edge Effects, Soil Characteristics (physical and chemical), Improving Soils, Plant Nutrition, Nutrient Elements, Diagnosing Nutritional Problems, Pests and Diseases.

 3. Introduction To Seed Propagation Techniques: Seed Propagation, Germinating Difficult Seeds, Sowing Seeds, Propagation Containers, Tube Seedlings, Production Systems, Sources of Seed and Seed Germination Resources.

 4. Propagation And Nursery Stock: Asexual Production, Cutting Types, Stock Plants, Root Cuttings, Hormone Treatment, Nursery Hygiene, Propagation Mixes, Potting Media, Maintaining Plants in Pots, Using a Greenhouse, Irrigation Systems, Propagating Different Species.

 5. Dealing With Chemical Problems: Soil Contamination, Symptoms of Chemical Contamination, Soil Rehabilitation, Growing Plants on Contaminated Soil, Building Site Rehabilitation, Chemical Composition of Soils.

 6. Physical Plant Effects On Degraded Sites: Pioneer Plants, Site Protection, Designing and Planting a Firebreak, Arranging Plants, Fire Resistant Plants, Stormwater, Waterlogging and Drainage.

 7. Plant Establishment Programs: What to Plant Where, Climate, Criteria for Plant Selection, Planting and Plant Protection Methods.

 8. Hostile Environments: Planning, Rehabilitation Techniques, Mulching, Weed Management and Trees and Shrubs that are Salt Tolerant.

 9. Plant Establishment Care: Planting Procedures, Water and Plant Growth, Plant Health, Inspecting a Plant, Inspecting the Immediate Environment, Methods, Prioritising Problems.

 10. Rehabilitating Degraded Sites: Environmental Assessments and Audits, Implementing a Land Rehabilitation Management Program and Replanting.



Part 2:

Module 4  Arboriculture ll

This builds on Arboriculture I. It develops your ability to manage trees beyond Arboriculture I, in order to minimize potential long term tree problems. Learn about better tree selection, strengthening and improving health of existing trees, and techniques used to better remove trees and stumps that must be removed.

 There are 7 lessons as follows:

1.   Planting Techniques

Soil, Water, Climate, Maintenance, Matching a tree to the site, Local regulations, Plant at the right time, Planting techniques, Plant size and age, Container type, Buying a tree, How to plant a tree, Watering method, Transplanting a large tree, Preparing for transplanting, Aftercare, small feature trees, Transplanting deciduous trees, Pruning at planting, Pocket planting, Slope serratioin, Wattling, Planting on Arid sites, Direct seeding, Spray seeding, trees with berries,

2. Controlling Plant Problems

Temperature, Frost, Winds, Acclimatisation, Tree guards, Other Tree Problems (Fire damage, Fire Resistant trees, pollution and toxic reactions, Soil contamination, Treating foliage burn, Soil rehabilitation, Trees to extract soil contaminants, Soil chemical composition, Air pollution and tree growth, pollutant tolerant trees, Pollution intolerant trees, Trees to control Urban air pollution, Dry soils, Symptoms of drought stressed trees, Dry soil tolerant trees, Trees for hot sites, Drainage problems and trees, Wet tolerant trees, Treee health problems, Resistant plant species, Choosing and using pesticides safely, Biological controls of pest and disease, Lifescycles, Tree termites, Tree injections, Tree nutrition and nutrition management, Fertilisers

3. Strengthening Weak Trees

Trimming, Trimming technique, Adverse responses to trimming, thinning, Bracing, temporary props, Modern bracing systems, Bolting, Rodding technique, Guy wires, How strong is dead wood, Cabling

4. Controlling Damage Caused by Plants

Tree damage, Tree root problems, trees that can cause problems with drains, Orecautions with drains, Selecting and using trees near drains, Limiting root problems, Root pruning, Trees and the water table (Aquafiers), Trees and power lines, Poisonous trees,

5. Tree Felling and Stump Removal

Tree evaluation systems, Calculating tree value, Tree removal, Why remove a tree, Tree felling methods, Axe, Saws, Winches, Chain saw, Controlling the fall, Different methods or removing stumps, Protecting trees, National Tree registers, Measuring tree height, Keeping a work site safe, risk assessment, Duty of care, Costing jobs,

6. Tolerant Plant Species

What to plant where, Tree data required, Influence of trees on buildings, Species suitability, Planning considerations, Harsh environments, frost protection, Frost resistant trees, Sun protection, Mulching, Fencing, wind protection, Wind tolerant trees, Soil degradation, Saline tolerant trees, Lime tolerance, Acid tolerance, Hardy trees for inner city, Review of several major genera (Aer, Fraxinus, Pinus, Quercus,

7. Establishing a Tree Plantation

Windbreaks, Windbreak design, Choosing windbreak species, Designing tree plantations, Producing drawings to scale.


Module 5  Plant Selection and Establishment

This develops a firm basis for the selection, establishment and maintenance of a wide range of commonly used garden plants; woody trees and shrubs, hedges and screening plants, alpines, water plants, turf varieties, herbaceous plants etc).

 There are 10 lessons in this course:
  1. Introduction - What to plant where, Plant selection, Plant varieties, Colourful year round foliage, Establishment (timing, soil preparation, plant size, planting technique), Maintenance programs, etc
  2. Woody plants - Selecting woody plants, trees, shrubs, deciduous/semi deciduous/evergreen; flowering shrubs, Establishing woody plants, Planting procedure, Dealing with shade, etc
  3. Windbreaks, hedges and screens -  Plant selection, establishing windbreaks & screens, Trimming a hedge, etc
  4. Alpine and water plants -  Selecting & establishing alpines, Selecting water plants, Establishment & maintenance of water plants
  5. Annual and herbaceous plants  - Selecting annuals, Types of annuals (by height, flower, edge plants, dot plants, groundwork plants), types of bedding schemes, Planting seed or seedlings, Container culture, Selection & Establishment of herbaceous plants (Bulbs & Perennials), Maximizing flowering effect, etc
  6. Turf - Varieties, Lawn mixes, What to grow where, Wildflower Meadows, Turf establishment, Soil Preparation, Seeding, Sodding, Stolonizing, Sprigging, Plugging, Mowing, Fertilising, etc
  7. Maintenance - Fertilizing, Managing pH, Replacing plants, Pruning, Irrigation, Humidity, Mulch, Developing a maintenance Program,
  8. Pest and disease control - Problem prevention, Non chemical control, Chemical control,
  9. Weed control - Non chemical control, Chemical control, Safety, Alternative strategies.
  10. Risk assessment - Identifying risk, Duty of care, Workplace safety, Protective clothing, Safety with tools, Significance of illness, etc

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.


Module 6 Plant Protection

Learn to identify diseases, insects & weeds; and to select and use appropriate treatments. Control techniques and safety are both covered in detail.All assignments must be completed and exams passed in the six modules listed above.

 There are 10 lessons in this course:
  1.     Introduction: scientific names, terms, diagnosing problems
  2.     Control Techniques: biological and chemical techniques, alternative methods
  3.     Chemicals: characteristics of chemicals
  4.     Identifying Diseases: symptoms, fungi and viruses and other pathogens
  5.     Disease Control: life cycle of fungi
  6.     Insect Classification: biology and insect classification
  7.     Insect Control: how to control pests
  8.     Non Insect Pests: nematodes, snails, centipedes, etc.
  9.     Chemical Weed Control: weed identification
  10.     Non-chemical Weed Control: natural control methods


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.

Duration:  600 hours (approximately)

Arborists are horticultural specialists who look after trees. The work may include establishing new trees or caring for established ones. Arborists may be required to remove sick or damaged branches or whole trees, control the size and shape of trees, repair of damaged or diseased wood (e.g. bracing, propping, cabling branches to prevent them breaking), accessing parts of trees by climbing or with a travel tower, planting new trees, transplanting large trees, controlling and removing unwanted roots, controlling tree pests or diseases, or developing tree management plans.
Trees in urban areas can often become a problem. Branches can fall onto power lines, buildings or other structures. Roots can damage pavements, fences, and building foundations, or block drains.
A tree lopper is someone who removes trees, but might not understand so much about how to grow or repair them.
A tree surgeon will understand more about how to grow trees and care for their health but, in addition, still have all the same skills of a tree lopper.
Some people in this field may specialise. For example, stump removalists may provide a service to dispose of large stumps after the tree is removed. Stump grinding machines may be used for this. In some instances a stump may need to be dug out or burned. Removing a stump can result in soil subsidence, so understanding all of the implications of dealing with “leftover” roots can be a significant area of study.
Where Do Arborists Work?
Arborists may work with an arboriculture business, tree removalist, tree surgeon; being self employed working for public authorities. Some work in forestry and others in private enterprise. Many will start their careers climbing trees but often with age this type of work can become increasingly challenging. Later in their careers, some move on to being a consultant, or manager, or conduct tree inspections and write tree reports for councils. Others may leave arboriculture and find work in other areas of horticulture.
Opportunities This Course Could Provide

Arboriculture offers many different roles, dependent upon level of study and industry experience. After completing this course you may find employment in the following areas:

Non-climbing arboriculture assistants are employed to work ropes, lower branches to the ground and clear away branches. They may also operate a chipping machine. This type of work is less skilled than climbing, does not pay as much, and may be an easier job to get when starting out in this industry.
A skilled climber is always in demand, and can earn very good money however one should always consider whether this is a job you would plan to do for decades, or for a lesser period - as a stepping stone towards something else.
Some arborists work primarily with travel towers, hence don't need to have climbing skills.
Arboriculture managers are often people who have started out with a course such as this one; followed by some years of hands on experience in the field, and eventually moving on to a non climbing position as a supervisor or manager of either their own business or a department within a public enterprise or larger company.




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Meet some of our academics

Marie Beerman B.Sc.,M.Hort.Marie has been involved in horticulture since 2003. She completed a Masters degree in Horticulture at Hannover University in Germany in 2007, and has worked with ACS since 2011 She has co-authored of several ebooks including one on Roses and has a very sound knowledge and experience with horticultural science and research ranging from plant taxonomy and plant breeding to pest, disease and soil management.,
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.
Bob James B.Sc.,M.Env.Mgt.Horticulturalist, Agriculturalist, Environmental consultant, Businessman and Professional Writer. Over 40 years in industry, Bob has held a wide variety of senior positions in both government and private enterprise. Bob has a Dip. Animal Husb, B.App.Sc., Grad.Dip.Mgt, PDC, M.Enviro.Mgt.

Check out our eBooks

Landscaping with Australian PlantsThink outside the box when designing your garden- have you considered using Australian Native plants? Add a different dimension to your garden using these beautiful and practical plants. Ideal for landscape gardeners, students and gardening enthusiasts, this ebook is a great read with stunning colour pictures.
Trees and ShrubsUseful for students, tradespeople already working in the field, or the home gardener who needs a quick reference when choosing plants for a garden.
Trees and Shrubs for Warm PlacesA stunning book with around 300 colour photos! A comprehensive reference to thousands of tropical plant varieties (mostly different information to the Tropical Plants book) . An classic reference for nurserymen, landscapers, interior plantscapers, horticulturists and any tropical plant enthusiasts. 209 pages
What to Plant WhereA great guide for choosing the right plant for a particular position in the garden. Thirteen chapters cover: plant selection, establishment, problems, and plants for wet areas. Shade, hedges and screens, dry gardens, coastal areas, small gardens, trees and shrubs, lawns and garden art.