Qualification -Advanced Diploma Horticulture -Nursery

Course CodeVHT009
Fee CodeAD
Duration (approx)2500 hours
QualificationAssociate Diploma
Train to be a Nursery Manager
  • Study from Home
  • Study at your own pace
This is a comprehensive course that builds strengths in management, science, plant propagation and growing a large variety of different plants.
It emphasises plant identification knowledge as the cornerstone of all good horticulture.
Every plant species is different, not only in how it looks, but how it is propagated and cultured. A good nurseryman needs to intimately know hundreds, if not thousands of different plants, and this is a course that gives you that knowledge and a solid foundation to continue growing that knowledge throughout your career.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Qualification -Advanced Diploma Horticulture -Nursery.
 Botany I BSC104
 Horticultural Research A BHT118
 Horticulture I BHT101
 Plant Identification and Knowledge (Horticulture II) BHT102
 Propagation I BHT108
 Soil Management - Horticulture BHT105
 Botany II BSC204
 Cutting Propagation BHT211
 Horticultural Research B BHT241
 Horticultural Resource Management BHT203
 Seed Propagation BHT237
 Horticultural Marketing BHT304
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 13 of the following 26 modules.
 Australian Natives I BHT113
 Azaleas And Rhododendrons VHT106
 Herb Culture BHT114
 Landscaping I BHT109
 Plant Selection And Establishment BHT107
 Australian Natives II BHT225
 Deciduous Trees BHT224
 Garden Centre Management BHT255
 Hydroponics I BHT224
 Orchid Culture BHT232
 Plant Breeding BHT236
 Plant Protection BHT207
 Practical Horticulture 1 BHT238
 Protected Plant Production BHT223
 Roses BHT231
 Scented Plants BHT229
 Tropical Plants BHT234
 Bonsai BHT320
 Ferns BHT314
 Operational Business Management I (Horticulture) BHT326
 Operational Business Management II (Horticulture) BHT327
 Organic Plant Culture BHT302
 Perennials BHT316
 Practical Horticulture 2 BHT323
 Professional Practice for Consultants BBS301
 Tissue Culture BHT306

Note that each module in the Qualification -Advanced Diploma Horticulture -Nursery is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

Watering Plants in a Nursery Greenhouse
An irrigation program is an important aspect of greenhouse management, not only to ensure that plants receive adequate water, but also to ensure that risk of over-watering or water wastage is kept to a minimum. A water management system should take into account the rate of application, even application, the climatic conditions, species, disease risk and whether the plants are container or field grown.

Container grown plants need daily applications of water. This is due to the root restriction within the pot. The size of root zone is often small when compared to the size of the plant and therefore water is rapidly used by the plant.
The considerations to keep in mind when choosing an irrigation system will depend on the type of nursery, the way in which plants are grown and the economic restrictions, however in all cases the best irrigation system will be economical, efficient and application specific.

Watering should be commenced prior to the plant displaying symptoms of moisture stress. It takes an experienced grower to be able to determine the most appropriate time to water. However, watering in commercial greenhouses is almost always computer automated, with sensors placed into the root zone, which activate the watering system as required. Watering is rarely from overhead sprinklers. Appropriate watering systems are designed to suit the crop. Most are from a central pipe with smaller tubes coming off to individual plants.

Water is becoming an increasing costly commodity.  For nursery operators for example using greenhouse systems this means that the cost of production increases accordingly, long periods of dry weather in recent years has also meant that with government implemented water restriction, unlimited supply is not always guaranteed.

Many nursery owners try to overcome this problem by supplying their own water from dams or tanks. It is prudent for dam users to ensure that their watering programs are carefully considered to reduce waste, as an example up to 80 percent of water from overhead sprinkler systems is wasted. You would need to check with the relevant water authority in your country to ascertain whether this requirement applies to you.

Run-off and Leachate
The most important aspect to saving water, and at the same time reducing water runoff and contamination from nutrient leachate, is to design and implement an efficient irrigation program in the first instance, or improve on the efficiency of an established system. A well designed water-wise system will help to reduce the volume of waste water and also therefore reduce waste water runoff and nutrient leachate.

Many greenhouse operators are now implementing water efficient systems such as Capillary Irrigation, Ebb and Flow irrigation and Drip Irrigation. These types of systems also help to minimise nutrient run-off that has been a major cause of pollution to waterways when contaminated water is discharged from a nursery

Greenhouse operators should also be aware that legislation is in place that forces them to control and even change production systems and practices that cause pollution to the waterways. This includes the necessity to collect, store and treat the nursery’s waste water. It therefore makes sense to implement a program that minimises water and nutrient usage in the first instance. Nurseries that have implemented a recycling program have been shown to reduce their water usage by around 50%, this figure can be reduced by a further 20 percent upon implementation of a capillary mats and a further 10 percent if capillary mats are used in conjunction with drippers.

The apparent contradictions in a nursery’s requirements to produce quality plants using a low cost system, as well as implement a production system that is environmentally responsible, can be addressed to a large extent by using a re-circulating system that has been optimised to suit individual nurseries.

This type of system could consist of:

  • Sealed beds that are well drained and collect the irrigation (and sometimes rain) water
  • Collection ditches at the bottom of the beds
  • A storage area in the form of a tank, pond or dam that is suited to the size of the nursery
  • Plus an irrigation management system designed to reduce water loss and also ensures the need to capture the lowest possible amount of recycled water.
The use of nutrients in nurseries should also be examined, in relation to watering. Nurseries should implement a nutrient program that minimises the use of fertilisers, especially nitrogen, this in turn will minimise the leaching of nutrients into waste water. The quality of the waste water collected for recycling will be better and require less treatment before being reused.
Running a Nursery is a Multi Skilled Job
Bigger nurseries are more complex than smaller ones; but no matter what the size; the nursery owner or manager needs to be technically aware and capable of adapting to change; as today's world changes more rapidly than ever before.
A good education will develop these adaptive skills; and this is precisely what this course is designed for.

More from ACS