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Horticulture (Grounds Management) 600 Hours Diploma


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Horticulture (Grounds Management) 600 Hours Diploma

Price: £1,950.00Course Code: VHT002. GM. Dip
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Horticulture (Grounds Management) 600 Hours Diploma

Diploma in Horticulture (Grounds Management)

This career enhancing diploma will help you learn practical skills and set you on your way to a career in professional gardening, including in grounds maintenance of the extensive gardens found in large houses and country estates, plus parks and other open spaces requiring good gardening management and techniques.


This diploma consists of a compulsory core study section, plus three elective courses that you can target to your own grounds maintenance training requirements, such as for golf courses, parks and other large scale gardens.  

The diploma objectives have been carefully considered by horticultural professionals of many years standing, to ensure you will acquire the knowledge and skills employers are looking for in this area of horticulture. During your mentor supported studies, you will develop:

  • General and broad based skills in horticultural practices and plant identification.
  • Skills and knowledge in diagnosis and treatment of pest, disease and weed control problems.
  • Knowledge and skills in turf selection and maintenance to a required standard.
  • Skills and knowledge in the establishment and maintenance of ornamental trees and shrubs.
  • Skills and knowledge in the management and improvement of soils for growing plants.
  • Knowledge and skills about the selection and operation of a variety of watering systems suitable for the irrigation of plants and turf in amenity horticulture.

The diploma can be completed in your own time and at your own pace. There are no deadlines for assignments, or an end date by which you have to complete everything by. You can also take study breaks, when extra family and work commitments need more of your time. As detailed above, the course is broken down as follows:

  1. CORE STUDIES - involving around 350 hours of study, divided into 5 units of 3 lessons each (15 in all).
  2. ELECTIVE STUDIES - requiring a further 300 hours of study from a choice of specialised grounds management courses.

N.B. If you are interested in a shorter version of this Diploma, then you can consider our Advanced Certificate in Horticulture (Grounds Management).


Course Syllabus - Diploma in Horticulture (Grounds Management)


Learning Goals: Core Modules 
  • Outline a logical and systemic approach to identifying pests and diseases, and appropriate management solutions for what has been identified
  • Describe appropriate management responses to weed problems, based upon an examination and assessment of the problem and circumstances in which they occur
  • Outline appropriate approaches to the culture of amenity plants
  • Select appropriate turf species to provide the required performance appropriate to different situations
  • Outline an appropriate approach to the culture of most turf cultivars plants encountered
  • Outline the resources, human and equipment, that would be required to manage an area of sports turf
  • Describe different and appropriate ways of managing a range of different tree species in the landscape
  • Explain how trees grow, and how such knowledge can help you better manage trees in a landscape
  • Describe how you would approach the task of planning and managing a garden
  • Describe a range of management responses to soil degradation
  • Describe the characteristics of different soils which affect the health of plants
  • Outline soil management plans designed to improve soils, appropriate to different gardens
  • Describe irrigation equipment that is appropriate to use in the maintenance of different landscapes
  • Describe the movement of water through landscapes and soils, and use of water in maintenance of landscapes
  • Describe the operation of irrigation systems in different landscape situations


Lesson Structure: Core Modules 


Unit 1 -  Pest, Diseases and Weed Control

Lesson 1 -  Pest and Diseases

  • Managing Pests and Disease Problems
  • The Lifecycle of a Disease: 
  • Diagnosis of Problems
  • Tell Tale Symptoms
  • Viruses
  • Fungal Biology 
  • Insect Biology
  • The Life Cycle of an Insect
  • Feeding Habits  
  • Molluscs, Nematodes and Crustaceans
  • Insect Classification
  • The Orders of Insects
  • Common Garden Insects
  • Set Reading - The Pest and Disease E book supplied with your course FREE OF CHARGE
  • Keeping Records - Why Keep Records?
  • Legal Requirements
  • Your Spray Machine - Is it Good Enough?
  • Mister/Duster Blowers Extra Information
  • What Damage is being Done to the Environment?
  • Protecting The Environment for the Future
  • Definitions of Pesticide Terms

Lesson 2 -  Weeds

  • Steps in Controlling Weeds
  • Some Common Groups of Weeds
  • Weeds in Turf
  • Some Turf Weedicides
  • Law in Relation to Chemical Use
  • Commonly Used Commercial Formulations
  • Weeds in Nurseries
  • Safety Procedures when Using Agricultural Chemicals
  • Recommendation
  • Types of Herbicide Chemicals

Lesson 3 -  Cultural Problems

  • Plants and Water
  • Air Pollution Injury to Plants
  • Maintenance in Parks
  • Comparitive Work Involved in Different Landscape Treatments
  • Natural Gardening Techniques in Nature Parks
  • Planting for Succession
  • Plant Breeding for Resistance to Pests and Disease
  • Parks - Analysis of Parks Maintenance
  • Departmental Organisation and Staffing in Parks
  • Equipment - A More Natural Approach
  • Avoiding Problem Materials
  • Disposing of Waste
  • Spray Equipment
  • Set Reading - Read relevant sections in the ebooks provided
  • Pest/Disease Review Worksheet


Unit 2 - Turf Maintenance

Lesson 4 - Turf Grasses

  • Turf
  • Grasses Physiology
  • Turf Varieties
  • Cultivar Selection Criteria
  • Common Turf Species
  • Lawn Mixes
  • Identifying Grasses - Tips
  • Description of Major Warm Season Lawn Grasses
  • Establishing Turf Grasses
  • Grasses Diagrams
  • Turf Glossary

Lesson 5 - Turf Culture

  • Turf Maintenance Techniques
  • Fertilising Turf
  • Weed Control
  • Turf Health Problems
  • Domestic Lawn Care Program
  • Laying a New Lawn
  • Set Reading

Lesson 6 - Types of Mowing Equipment

  • Types of Mowing Equipment
  • Mower Types
  • Before Mowing
  • Mowing Sports Turf
  • Sports Turf Mowers
  • Problems that may Occur With Mowing
  • More on Mower Types
  • Deciding What you Need
  • Set Reading


Unit 3 - Tree and Shrub Maintenance

Lesson 7 - Arboriculture

  • The Importance of Trees
  • Choosing Trees
  • How to Plant a Tree
  • How to Transplant a Tree
  • Tree Surgery
  • Tree Surgery Safety
  • Tree Surgery Techniques
  • Tree Pruning
  • Pruning Diagram
  • Removing Trees
  • Removing a Stump
  • Terminology
  • Tree Injection
  • Set Reading

Lesson 8 - Tree Physiology

  • Tree Health Disorders
  • How and Why Frost Damage Occurs
  • Mistletoe
  • Dealing with Plant Problems
  • Conducting an Inspection
  • Diagnosis of Plant Disorders
  • Environmental Problems
  • Tree Growth
  • Photosynthesis
  • Transpiration
  • Tree Physiology
  • How a Tree Grows
  • Compartmentalisation - How a Tree Rots

Lesson 9 - Plant Maintenance

  • Planning and Managing a Garden
  • Planning
  • Checklists for Gardening
  • Basic Principles for Working in a Garden Situation
  • Pruning
  • Pruning Diagram
  • Pruning Tools
  • Environmental Influences on Plants
  • Physical Plant Protection Methods


Unit 4 - Soils Management

Lesson 10 - Soil Degradation

  • How Soils Develop
  • Soil Degradation
  • Salanity
  • Soil Acidification
  • Chemical Residues
  • Set Reading

Lesson 11 - Soil Characteristics

  • Soil Characteristics and Their Relationship to Plant Growth
  • Cation Exchange Capacity
  • Soils and How They Relate to Plant Growth
  • The Nitrogen Cycle
  • Nitrogen Fixation
  • Carbon Cycle
  • Carbon/Nitrogen Ratio
  • Mycorrhizae
  • Soil Tests
  • Deciding When, What and How to Test
  • Measuring pH
  • Set Reading

Lesson 12 - Soil Management

  • Introduction
  • Improving Soils
  • Composting Methods
  • Mulch
  • Cultivation Techniques  and Their Effects on the Soil
  • Set Reading


Unit 5 - Irrigation

Lesson 13 - Irrigation Equipment

  • Water
  • Irrigation Systems
  • Irrigation System Design Considerations
  • Types of Sprinkler Equipment
  • Maintenance of Watering Systems

Lesson 14 - Understanding Water

  • Plants and Water
  • Understanding the Movement of Soil Water
  • Drainage
  • How to Improve the Quality of Water from Any Source
  • Physical Impurities
  • Chemical Impurities
  • Biological Impurities
  • Pumps and Pressure Systems
  • Set Reading

Lesson 15 - Irrigation Design and Operation

  • Estimating Water Requirements of Plants
  • Irrigation
  • Trickle Irrigation in Ornamental Gardens
  • Maintaining your Trickle Irrigation
  • Putting Greens



Elective Modules (Choose 3 from the following 5 courses)

Irrigation Management (Horticulture)

There are 8 lessons:

  • Waste water and recycling
  • Measuring water usage
  • Drainage
  • Irrigation controllers
  • System maintenance
  • Fertigation
  • Design evaluation
  • System design

Soil Management - Horticulture

There are 8 lessons:

  1. Physical and Chemical Properties of Soils
  2. Soil and Plant Tissue Test Methods
  3. Soil Science and Health
  4. Container Growing
  5. Land Degradation and Other Soil Problems
  6. Soil Management Applications
  7. Organic Techniques and Soil Management
  8. Soils and Managing Earthworks

Weed Control

There are 8 lessons:

  1. Weed Identification
  2. Weed Control Methods
  3. Chemical Weed Control
  4. Weed Control In Specific Situations
  5. Safe Chemical Application
  6. Non-Chemical Weed Control
  7. Dealing With Specific Weed Control Problems
  8. Developing A Major Weed Control Program

Turf Care 

There are 11 lessons:

  1. Introduction - Turf Varieties
  2. Turf Grass Physiology
  3. Turf Establishment
  4. Soils
  5. Turf Weed Problems
  6. Turf Pests & Diseases
  7. Turf Maintenance Techniques
  8. Irrigation - An Overview
  9. Playing Fields & Bowling Greens
  10. Managing Established Turf
  11. Establishing Ornamental Turf 

Plant Protection

There are 10 lessons:

  1. Introduction
  2. Control Techniques
  3. Chemicals
  4. Identifying Diseases
  5. Disease Control
  6. Insect Classification and biology
  7. Insect Control
  8. Other Pests
  9. Weed Identification 
  10. Weed Control

Click on links for each course to see what each lesson will teach you.

The quality of this course is second to none, from the in-depth learning you will get to the expert individual mentoring you will receive throughout your studies. The mentors for this course are: 
Yello rosesSusan Stephenson
BSc in Applied Plant Biology (Botany) Univ. London 1983.
City and guilds: Garden Centre Management, Management and Interior Decor (1984)
Management qualifications in training with retail store. Diploma in Hort level 2 (RHS General) Distinction. 
Susan Stephenson is a passionate and experienced horticulturist and garden designer. She has authored three books, lectures at 2 Further and Higher Education Colleges, teaching people of all ages and backgrounds about the wonders of plants and garden design, and tutors many students by correspondence from all over the world.
Susan studied botany at Royal Holloway College (Univ of London) and worked in the trading industry before returning to her first love plants and garden design. She is therefore, well placed to combine business knowledge with horticulture and design skills. Her experience is wide and varied and she has designed gardens for families and individuals. Susan is a mentor for garden designers who are just starting out, offering her support and advice and she also writes, delivers and assesses courses for colleges, introducing and encouraging people into horticulture and garden design.
In 2010, Susan authored a complete module for a Foundation degree (FDSC) in Arboriculture.
Susan holds the RHS General with Distinction. She continues to actively learn about horticulture and plants and (as her students will tell you) remains passionate and interested in design and horticulture.
Steven Whitaker course tutorSteven Whitaker
Diploma in Garden Design (Distinction) – The Blackford Centre, Gold Certificate of Achievement in Horticulture, Level 2 NVQ in Amenity Horticulture, Level 1 NOCN Introduction to Gardening, – Joseph Priestly College, BTEC Diploma in Hotel, Catering and Institutional Operations (Merit), Trainer Skills 1, & 2, Group trainer, Interview and Selection Skills – Kirby College of Further Education
Steven has a wealth of Horticultural knowledge, having ran his own Design and Build service, Landscaping company, and been a Head Gardener. His awards include five Gold awards at Leeds in Bloom, two Gold awards at Yorkshire in Bloom and The Yorkshire Rose Award for Permanent Landscaping. Steven has worked with TV’s Phil Spencer as his garden advisor on the Channel 4 TV Programme, “Secret Agent”. 
He is qualified to Level 2 NVQ in Amenity Horticulture and has a Diploma in Garden Design which he passed with Distinction. Steven’s Tutor and Mentor was the Chelsea Flower Show Gold Award-winning Garden Designer, Tracy Foster. He also works for a major Horticultural Commercial Grower in the field of Propagation and Craft Gardening. Steven lives in Leeds where he is a Freelance Garden Designer and Garden Advice Consultant. 

Course Info
How Do Our Tuition Fees Compare?Full time classroom based Further Education Courses - Approx. £5,000 per year - Part-time classroom based Adult Education Courses - Approx. £7.00 per hour - N.B. classroom tuition means you learn at the pace of the class. One-to-one private tuition - from £15.00 per hour - ADL one-to-one tution fees - From £340 per 100 Hour Course = Average of £3.40 per hour - N.B. one-to-one tuition is tailored to your own individual learning availability and pace.
Course StartBegin your learning at any time.
Course Prerequisite None - Our course levels are an indication of the depth of learning you should receive. They do not describe the level of difficulty.
Course Qualification (Study Option A)Endorsed Qualification from TQUK - Training Qualifications UK, an Ofqual Approved Awarding Organisation - Completed written assignments and final evaluation per course/module to be taken.
Course Qualification (Study Option B)Certificate of Attainment from ADL - Completed written assignments only - no final evaluation.
Comparative Credits InformationUK Course Credits: 60 - U.S. Credit Hours: 18 - when compared to regulated courses.
Course Duration and DeadlinesCourse hours given are a guide only. You will be encouraged to work at your own pace to learn as much as you can, with no assignment deadlines or end date by which you must complete your course by. You are in control!
Study SupportPersonal tutor/mentor support from industry relevant professionals throughout your whole course. Mentors are contactable by e-mail, telephone and through the Moodle online classroom. They provide assistance with your course material, plus discuss, explain and give advice when needed. They will also mark and grade your assignments, plus provide constructive and helpful feedback vital to your success.
Suitability for Self Employment and Small BusinessesOur courses are ideal for sole traders and small business owners and their staff. Customer confidence in what you can do will determine how successful you are in getting clients. Doing the job right using the correct knowledge and skills, leads to repeat business and referrals to friends, family and work colleagues. Completing one or more of our courses for the service you have to offer, will give you the tools to achieve this and grow your business.
Recognition of Your Course By EmployersWe aim to achieve the correct balance between your qualification being recognised and providing you with the in-depth learning, to empower you to succeed. If you can demonstrate that you have the level of knowledge and transferable skills necessary to an employer, you should stand out from someone who has only received a superficial understanding of what's required - Select study option A when enrolling, so an employer can check the status of the awarding organisation for your qualification on the Ofqual Register.
Recognition of Your Course By UniversitiesAs you will see on our Testimonials page, previous students have used their qualification from us to get into university. However each one will have its own entrance criteria and acceptance may also depend on your other qualifications and experience. We can approach up to three universities on your behalf with details of our course before you enrol, so you will know whether it will be accepted as part of their application process. Please complete our contact form and we will begin the process.
Designing Your Own QualificationBundle up your choice of related courses to form your own qualification. Our Advanced Certificates (4 courses), Diplomas (6 courses), Advanced Diplomas (8 courses) and Higher Advanced Diplomas (12 courses), are used to differentiate between the in-depth knowledge and skills you will acquire in your chosen area of study. e.g. Advanced Certificate in Turf Care Management, which includes individual courses: Turf Care, Sports Turf Care, Turf Repair and Renovation and Turf Grasses.
How Can I Enrol?Online by selecting your study option, learning materials, plus payment option and then clicking the Enrol Now button - By contacting us for an application form - By telephoning us on 01227 789 649 (International: 0044 1227 789 649). Lines open 9am till 5pm Monday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays and between Christmas and New Year.
How Can I Get a Pro-forma Invoice for my Employer?Contact us with details and we will email your employer an invoice. We will need: employer's name, address, telephone number, email address and contact name. We will also require your name, telephone number, email address, date of birth and the course and code you wish to enrol for.

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Previous Customer Experiences with our CoursesWoman leaping to the next level in her career development

"Fantastic Teacher. Well organised modules. Assignments force me to learn and research more so I can prepare well for exams. I really enjoyed studying via ADL.  I can now continue study at Ulster University which accept my certificate from ADL".    Level 4,  Advanced Certificate in Applied Science,  VSC001,  Stanislawa,  Poland.

Its with great pleasure I am announcing you my new job as 'Park Manager' for a 5 star hotel in Reunion Island.  Its definitely my courses with ADL (Botany, Agronomy and Trees for Rehabilitation) which were decisive for my nomination. Accordingly, my sincere thanks goes to all the ADL team.

"The course was a valuable learning experience as it provided me with the knowledge and understanding for me as a Careers Advisor. The feedback was very good from my tutor, and allowed me to  build upon my assignments that were marked. The comments were very informative  and very useful. Well written course material."  Andrew W, Careers  Counselling, UK

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Disclaimer: Every attempt is made to ensure all information from the academy is accurate and that the student has attained the competencies taught in a course, at the point of their assessment. Beyond this point, the graduate is responsible to maintain their acquired competencies, and apply acquired knowledge and skills in a way which is appropriate to the unique characteristics of each application. This will release the academy from any liability, action and claims of whatsoever nature in connection with, or arising from any such information, instruction or advice, given by any student or ex-student, whether directions given during the course are followed or not.