Online Course -or alternatively, study by Distance education using paper based notes or a CD
Carve out a lifelong career in the Horticultural Cropping industry
This is a very solid training program for anyone wishing to develop a career in horticultural crop production.
The course has two parts. The first part provides a very sound and broad based foundation in horticultue; over the following fifteen lessons:
- Introduction To Plants
- Parts Of The Plant
- Plant Culture - Planting
- Plant Culture - Pruning
- Plant Culture - Irrigation & Machinery
- Soils & Media
- Soils & Nutrition
- Seeds & Cuttings (Propagation)
- Other Techniques (Propagation)
- Identification & Use Of Plants - Landscape Application
- Identification & Use Of Plants - Problems
- Identification & Use Of Plants - Indoor & Tropical Plants
The 15 lessons are divided into the following 6 areas:
1. INTRODUCTION TO PLANTS (40 hours)
The purpose of this study area is to explain the binomial system of plant classification and demonstrate identification of plant species through the ability of using botanical descriptions for leaf shapes and flowers.
- Describe the relevant identifying physical features of flowering ornamental plants.
- Demonstrate how to use prescribed reference books and other resources to gain relevant information.
- Dissect, draw and label two different flowers.
- Collect and identify the shapes of different leaves.
- Demonstrate how to identify between family, genus, species, variety and cultivar.
2. PLANT CULTURE (60 hours)
The purpose of this study area is to demonstrate the ability to care for plants so as to maintain optimum growth and health while considering pruning, planting, and irrigation.
- Describe how to prune different plants.
- Demonstrate how to cut wood correctly, on the correct angle and section of the stem.
- Describe how to plant a plant.
- Demonstrate an awareness of different irrigation equipment, sprinklers, pumps and turf systems available by listing their comparative advantages and disadvantages.
- Demonstrate competence in selecting an appropriate irrigation system for a garden, explaining the reasons why that system would be preferred.
- Define water pressure and flow rate and how to calculate each.
- Explain the need for regular maintenance of garden tools and equipment.
- List factors that should be considered when comparing different types of machinery for use in garden maintenance.
3. SOILS AND PLANT NUTRITION (50 hours)
The purpose of this study area is to provide students with the skills and knowledge to identify, work with and improve the soil condition and potting mixes, and to evaluate fertilisers for use in landscape jobs to maximize plant growth.
- Describe the soil types commonly found in plant culture in terms of texture, structure and water holding and nutrient holding capacity.
- Describe methods of improving soil structure, infiltration rate, water holding capacity, drainage and aeration.
- List the elements essential for plant growth.
- Diagnose the major nutrient deficiencies that occur in ornamental plants and prescribe treatment practices.
- Describe soil pH and its importance in plant nutrition.
- Describe the process by which salting occurs and how to minimise its effect.
- Conduct simple inexpensive tests on three different potting mixes and report accordingly.
- Describe suitable soil mixes for container growing of five different types of plants.
- List a range of both natural and artificial fertilizers.
- Describe fertilizer programs to be used in five different situations with ornamental plants.
4. INTRODUCTORY PROPAGATION (40 hours duration)
The purpose of this study area is to improve the student's understanding of propagation techniques with particular emphasis on cuttings and seeds. Other industry techniques such as grafting and budding are also explained.
- Demonstrate propagation of six (6) different plants by cuttings and three from seed.
- Construct a simple inexpensive cold frame.
- Mix and use a propagation media suited to propagating both seed and cuttings.
- Describe the method and time of year used to propagate different plant varieties.
- Describe and demonstrate the steps in preparing and executing a variety of grafts and one budding technique.
- Explain the reasons why budding or grafting are sometimes preferred propagation methods.
5. IDENTIFICATION AND USE OF PLANTS (60 hours)
The purpose of this study area is to improve the student's range of plant knowledge and the plant use in landscaping and the ornamental garden, and the realization that plants have optimum and preferred growing conditions.
- Select plants appropriate for growing in different climates.
- Select plants appropriate to use for shade, windbreaks, as a feature, and for various aesthetic effects.
- Categorise priorities which effect selection of plants for an ornamental garden.
- Explain the differences in the way plants perform in different microclimates within the same area.
- List and analyze the situations where plants are used.
6. PESTS, DISEASES AND WEEDS (50 hours)
The purpose of this study area is to introduce and help the student in identifying, describing and controlling a variety of pests, diseases and weeds in ornamental situations and safety procedures when using agricultural chemicals are explained.
- Explain in general terms the principles of pest, disease and weed control and the ecological (biological) approach to such control.
- Explain the host-pathogen-environment concept.
- Describe a variety of pesticides for control of pests, diseases and weeds of ornamental plants in terms of their active constituents, application methods, timing and rates, and safety procedures.
- Photograph or prepare specimens, identify and recommend control practices for at least five insect pests of ornamental plants.
- Photograph, sketch or prepare samples, identify and recommend control practices for three non-insect ornamental plant health problems (e.g. fungal, viral, bacterial).
- Describe the major ways in which diseases (fungal, viral, bacterial and nematode) affect turf, the life cycle features that cause them to become a serious problem to turf culture and the methods available for their control.
- Identify, describe and recommend treatment for three different weed problems.
- Collect, press, mount and identify a collection of ten different weeds, and recommend chemical and non-chemical treatments which may be used to control each.
- List and compare the relative advantages and disadvantages of different weed control methods.
Note that each module in the Qualification -Certificate In Horticulture (Crops) is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.
-books written by our principal John Mason and the staff
click on a book for details or to purchase
Why Choose This Course
- Unique course materials (developed by our staff) and more current than some colleges (many reviewed annually); as a result, ACS graduates can be more up to date.
- We work hard to help you understand and remember it, develop an ability to apply it in the real world, and build networks with others who work in this field (It’s more than just serving up a collection of information –if all you want is information, buy a book; but if you want an education, that takes learning to a whole new level).
- Start whenever you want, study at your own pace, study anywhere
- Don’t waste time and money traveling classes
- We provide more choices–courses are written to allow you more options to focus on parts of the subject that are of more interest to you; a huge range of elective subjects are offered that don’t exist elsewhere.
- Tutors are accessible (more than elsewhere) – academics work in both the UK and Australia, 5 days a week, 16 hours a day. Answering emails and phone calls from students are top priority.
- We treat students as individuals –don’t get lost in a crowd. Our tutors communicate with you one to one.
- Extra help at no extra cost if needed. When you find something you cannot do, we help you through it or will provide another option.
- Support after you finish a course –We can advise about getting work, starting business, writing a CV, etc. We can promote students and their businesses through our extensive profile on the internet. Graduates who ask will be helped.
- Support from a team of a dozen professional horticulturists, living in different parts of the UK, and in both temperate and tropical climate zones of Australia.
ACS was started in 1979 by John Mason, who at the time was a gardening author, horticultural consultant and lecturer in horticulture at several colleges across Melbourne (in Australia). Over the summer that year John discovered that there were thousands of applicants going to be turned away from horticulture courses at Burnley Horticultural College (now Melbourne University). There were simply too few courses being offered for the number of people wanting to study horticulture in Australia. This situation prompted a move to establish a correspondence course at Burnley; but after months of unsuccessful lobbying for support from government; John wrote a course, and with help from a colleague at Council of Adult Education, marketed it.
Standards were originally set in line with what were seen to be the standards of Australia's top horticultural college; and over the years, those standards have never been reduced. This makes our courses longer and more demanding than some other colleges; but it has also led to us building a credibility that stands tall in the horticulture industry across the world.
In the early 1990's John started visiting the UK and becoming involved with the horticulture industry there. Around the mid 1990's ACS began offering RHS courses, and in 2003, John was formally recognised for his contribution to British Horticulture by being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture. ACS, as a school, established an office and staff in the UK in 2001, and has expanded considerably since then. Today it is formally affiliated with five other colleges in the UK (including Warwickshire College); all of who license and deliver ACS courses.
A team of leading horticulturists work for the school's horticulture department, including 12 faculty members in both the UK and Australia
How You Study
- As soon as you enroll, we send an email to explain it all.
- We direct you to a short orientation video (downloadable over the internet) to watch, where our principal introduces you to how the course works, and how you can access all sorts of support services
- You are either given a code to access your course online, or sent out a CD or course materials through the mail (or by courier).
- Work through lessons one by one, each lesson typically having four parts:
- An aim -which tells you what you should be achieving in the lesson
- Reading -notes written and regularly revised by our academic staff
- Set Task(s) -These are practicals, research or other experiential learning tasks that strengthen and add to what you have been reading
- Assignment -By answering questions, submitting them to a tutor, then getting feedback from the tutor, you confirm that you are on the right track, but more than that, you are guided to consider what you have been studying in different ways, broadening your perspective and reinforcing what you are learning about
- Other - Your work in a course rarely stops at just the above four parts. Different courses and different students will need further learning experiences. Your set task or assignment may lead to other things, interacting with tutors or people in industry, reviewing additional reference materials or something else. We treat every student as an individual and supplement their learning needs as the occasion requires.
- We provide access to and encourage you to use a range of supplementary services including an online student room, including online library; student bookshop, newsletters, social media etc.
- We provide a "student manual", that is a quick solution to most problems that might occur
- ACS has a highly respected international profile: by employers and academics alike. People are more aware of us than many other distance education schools –just do a search for “horticulture distance education courses” and see what comes up on the internet; or search for ACS Distance education on Facebook or Linked in, and see how many connections we have compared to other colleges.
- Recognised by International Accreditation and Recognition Council
- ACS has been educating people around the world since 1979
- Over 100,000 have now studied ACS courses, across more than 150 countries
- Formal affiliations with colleges in five countries
- A faculty of over 40 internationally renowned academics –books written by our staff used by universities and colleges around the world.
Extra Books or Reference Materials
- The course provides you with everything that you need to complete it successfully.
- Assignments may ask you to look for extra information (eg. by contacting nurseries, visiting gardens or searching the internet), but our school's resources and tutors are always available as a back up. If you hit a "roadblock", we can quickly send you additional information or provide expert advice over the phone or email; to keep you moving in your studies.
- Some students choose to buy additional references, to take their learning beyond what is essential for the course. If a student wants to buy books, we operate an online bookshop offering ebooks written by staff at the school. Student discounts are available if you are studying with us. The range of e books available is being expanded rapidly, with at least one new ebook being written and published by our staff every month. See www.acsebook.com