Either Year 12 (passed), an acceptable certificate (eg. Completed apprenticeship) or over 21 yrs of age.
Stage 1 Core Studies
The following six modules are undertaken first as a foundation for further studies:
- Horticulture I
- Horticulture II
- Horticulture III
- Plant Selection & Establishment
- Outdoor Plant Production
- Garden Maintenance
Exemption is granted for this stage to anyone who has the following:
- Any Certificate or Advanced Certificate from ACS
- Horticultural studies of 600 hrs or more class contact duration from another approved institution (Approved institutions include universities, IARC recognized institutions, institutions with a teaching approach that have a strong emphasis upon foundation science and plant knowledge)
Note: Modules from either stages II & III may be undertaken after stage I is complete.
Stage II Electives
Six modules chosen from the following:
- Practical Horticulture I
- Practical Horticulture II
- Organic Plant Culture
- Permaculture Systems
- Advanced Permaculture
- Engineering Applications
- Plant Protection Machinery and Equipment (Engineering I)
- Project Management
- Horticultural Marketing
- Amenity Horticulture I
- Amenity Horticulture II
- Turf Care
- Sports Turf Management
- Turf Repair and Renovation
- Arboriculture I
- Arboriculture II
- Trees for Rehabilitation
- Landscaping I, II, III
- Planning Layout & Construction of Ornamental Gardens
- Restoring Established Ornamental Gardens
- Propagation I
- Cutting Propagation
- Wholesale Nursery Management
- Garden Centre Management
- Cut Flower Production
- Cut Flower Bulbs
- Cut Flower Orchids
- Greenhouse Cut Flowers
- Hydroponics I
- Hydroponic Management
- Commercial Vegetable Production
- Protected Plant Production
- Fruit Production
- Berry Production
- Herb Culture
- Culinary Herbs
- Medicinal Herbs
- Australian Natives I
- Tropical Plants
- Cacti and Succulents
- Interior Plants
- Water Conservation and Management
- Irrigation Management
Other options may be considered, though the above are generally considered the better options for this particular course.
Stage III Compulsory Modules
The following should all be completed
- Horticultural Resource Management
- Horticultural Research I
- Industry Meetings or Workshop I (Note: This can be completed without difficulty anywhere in the world).
OUTLINES OF KEY CORE MODULES
There are twelve lessons in this course, as follows:
1. Plant Identification: Naming plants; distinguishing the taxonomic divisions of plants including family, genus, species and variety or hybrid; identifying the different parts of a flower; distinguishing the morphological characteristics of leaves.
2. Planting: Planting methods used for different types of plants including annuals, perennials, evergreen and deciduous plants; influence of environmental factors on planting techniques.
3. Soils: Classifying soils; sampling and testing soils; chemical and physical properties of soils; soil improvement techniques; composting; potting mixes.
4. Nutrition: Major and micro elements necessary for plant growth; nutrient deficiencies and toxicities; fertilisers.
5. Water Management: Irrigation systems – characteristics, advantages and disadvantages; drainage systems; waterwise gardening.
6. Pruning: Pruning techniques; importance of pruning to growth, flowering and fruiting; pruning tools.
7. Weeds: Identifying common weeds; characteristics of weeds; control techniques; herbicides.
8. Pests and Diseases: Identifying common insect and disease problems; control methods; Integrated Pest Management; pesticides; hygiene procedures; chemical safety.
9. Landscaping: Stages of landscaping; design procedures; collating pre-planning information; preparing plans; selecting plants for specified sites.
10. Propagation: Asexual and sexual propagation; taking cuttings; sowing seeds; aftercare of propagated plants.
11. Lawns: Turf grass varieties; laying a new lawn; cultural techniques including watering, fertilizing, topdressing, aerating, pest and disease control.
12. Arboriculture: Tree management techniques including pruning, removal and tree surgery; identifying tree problems.
The content of each of the ten lessons is outlined below:
1. The Groups of Plants ‑ Identification of plants from a wide range of taxonomic and cultural groups, using a range of different techniques.
2. Use of Plants ‑ plant selection, soils.
3. Australian Native Plants
To determine techniques for the growing of native shrubs and trees, including the selection, culture and use of different species.
4. Exotic Ornamental Plants
To determine techniques for the growing of exotic ornamental shrubs and trees, including the selection, culture and use of different species.
5. Indoor & Tropical Plants -growing of indoor plants, including selection, culture and use of different varieties
6. Bedding Plants - techniques for the growing of bedding plants, including selection, culture and use of different varieties.
Learn to develop techniques for the growing of edible crop plants, including selection, culture and use of vegetables, fruit, berries and nuts (Part A).
8. Fruits, Nuts & Berries
10. Alternative Growing Techniques ‑ hydroponics, container growing, terrariums. Determine appropriate applications for a range of alternative growing methods
Horticulture III (Plant Health)
There are ten lessons in this module, as follows:
2. Overview of Preventative Controls
4. Other Pesticides
5. Spray Equipment
6. Insect Biology
7. Fungal Biology
8. Environmental Problems
10. Nematodes, Molluscs and Crustaceans
This course provides a broad based foundation to allow you to adapt to and work in different sectors of the industry, as a technician, business owner, consultant, etc.
Horticultural staff need to have a strong foundation in both science and plants. They need to know:
- What affects plant growth (Soils, nutrition, water, temperature, pests etc)
- Cultural Techniques (Propagation, pruning, planting, shelter, etc)
- Plant Knowledge (Plant family characteristics, classification system, etc)
This course is internationally accredited through I.A.R.C
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
ACS Distance Education is a College of Horticulture offering horticulture courses, as training for horticulture jobs through home Study gardener course for a career in horticulture.