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Duration (approx) 700 hours
Qualification Certificate

Study at Home Grounds Management Course

Change your career - specialist training in the field of horticulture and grounds management.

  • An excellent course to start a career in horticulture.
  • Specialised training for the horticulture industry.
  • Graduates of this course have been very successful in finding employment and starting their own businesses in horticulture.
  • Highly experienced and qualified tutors.
  • Study in your own time at your own pace.
  • This is an excellent start to a career in horticulture. It provides specialised training for employment in the horticultural industry, and at a level which other certificates unfortunately don’t always attain in today’s world.

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Change your career! Specialist training in the field of horticulture and grounds management.

There are two parts to this certificate:


The Core Units develop broad general skills in horticultural practices, and plant knowledge. All students undertaking this certificate will complete these units. The core units comprise approximately 50% of the course content. The core units consist of the following lessons:

  1. Introduction to Plants
    Nomenclature and taxonomy, the plant kingdom, genus, species, hybrids.
  2. Parts of the Plant
    How plants grow, plant structure, parts of the flower and leaf, modification of stems and roots.
  3. Plant Culture - Planting
    How to plant and protect newly planted specimens, terms like: annuals, biennials, perennials, deciduous, evergreen and herbaceous plants.
  4. Plant Culture - Pruning
    Purpose for pruning, rules for pruning, how to prune.
  5. Plant Culture - Irrigation and Machinery
    Different irrigation systems, components of an irrigation system, designing an irrigation system, selection, use and maintenance of machinery and tools.
  6. Soils and Media
    Soil classifications, testing soil, potting mixes, the U.C. System, ingredients of potting mixes.
  7. Soils and Nutrition - Fertilisers
    Deficiencies and toxicities, N:P:K ratios, salting, fertiliser programming, compost.
  8. Propagation - Seeds and Cuttings
    How to propagate plants by seed and cuttings, propagating mixes, cold frame construction, after care for young plants.
  9. Propagation - Other Techniques
    Other methods to increase plant numbers - budding, grafting, layering, division and tissue culture.
  10. Identification and Use of Plants I
    How are plants used in the landscape, how to choose and purchase plants, selecting plants suitable for the climate and site.
  11. Identification and Use of Plants II
    Problems with plants and choosing plants for problem sites.
  12. Identification and Use of Plants III
    Indoor and tropical plants, flowers, herbs, bulbs, ferns.
  13. Pests
    Identifying and controlling pests, chemical and natural methods for control, chemical safety precautions.
  14. Diseases
    Identifying and controlling diseases, plant pathology, fungi, viruses, non-pathogenic problems, interactions with the host and the environment.
  15. Weeds
    Identifying and controlling weeds, chemical terminology.


The specialist Stream Units comprise 15 lessons aimed specifically at those studying Grounds Management.  The lessons are:

  1. Pest and Disease Management
  2. Weed Management
  3. Managing Plant Cultural Problems
  4. Turf Grasses
  5. Turf Culture
  6. Cultural Management
  7. Arboriculture
  8. Tree Physiology
  9. Tree Plant Maintenance
  10. Soil Degradation
  11. Soil Characteristics
  12. Soil Management
  13. Irrigation Equipment
  14. Understanding Water
  15. Irrigation Design and Operation

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

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

How This Course Can Help You

Grounds management is a significant sector within the horticulture industry. Not only are there stately homes and trust properties which require the services of grounds managers, but there are also parks, schools, large business parks, and other commercial properties where grounds staff are needed. Duties can require a full range of horticulture skills and expertise, so that's where this study program comes in. This course will benefit anyone working in, or looking to get started in, the following areas:

  • Grounds maintenance
  • Garden maintenance
  • Amenity horticulture
  • Green keeping
  • Parks and gardens

If you have any questions or would like to know more about the Certificate In Horticulture (Grounds Management) or about studying with ACS, please get in touch with our specialist Horticulture tutors today. They will be pleased to answer your questions and look at the study options available to meet your aims.


Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!