associate diploma in turf

This comprehensive course provides a very sound foundation for a career in the turf industry at management level.

It provides essential horticultural science modules and lessons aimed specifically at various aspects of the turf industry in a course running to some 1,500 hours of studies.

Working with Colin Elliott, an experienced professional hoticulturist, landscaper and ex-Royal Gardener, this CD-based course provides the information you need to form a solid basis for a career in turf care and management.

Each lesson ends with assignments to test your knowledge and reinforce your learning; these are sent to your tutor at the Garden Design Academy for marking and comments.

The Garden Design Academy's Associate Diploma in Turf is a high-level diploma demanding a disciplined approach over a prolonged period of study. You will be required to successfully complete, undertake assignments and pass examinations in the following 14 modules. 100 hours of industry meetings are also stipulated.

Compulsory Modules

  • Horticulture I
  • Turf Care
  • Sports Turf Management
  • Turf Repair and Renovation
  • Irrigation (Gardens)
  • Plant Protection
  • Weed Control
  • Machinery and Equipment
  • Horticultural Resource Management
  • Event Management
  • Research Project I

Elective Modules

Choose three additional modules from the following options:

  • Horticulture II
  • Engineering Applications
  • Irrigation Management
  • Soil Management
  • Plant Pathology
  • Landscaping I
  • Landscape Construction
  • Practical Horticulture I
  • Practical Horticulture II
  • Professional Practice for Consultants
  • Supervision
  • Horticultural Marketing
  • Playground Design

Compulsory Modules: a brief outline

Horticulture I

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; water-wise 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.

Turf Care

There are eleven lessons as follows:

  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

Sports Turf Management

Ten lessons are as follows:

  1. Turf Variety Selection
  2. Mowing - selection, use and maintenance of equipment.
  3. Cultivation Techniques -spiking, coring, thatch removal and other techniques.
  4. Preparing for Play on Sports grounds - rolling, marking, etc.
  5. Preparing for Play of Greens - rolling, marking, etc.
  6. Turf Protection & Preservation
  7. Irrigation & Drainage
  8. Soil Treatment & Sprays - pesticides, fertilisers, etc.
  9. Evaluate Maintenance Facilities
  10. Develop a Management Plan.

Turf Repair and Renovation

Ten lessons are as follows:

  1. Understanding Turf Deterioration - physiological and biological responses.
  2. Repair & Renovation Equipment - use and repair of applicable equipment.
  3. Turf Cultivation Techniques
  4. Health Improvement Techniques -pest control, feeding, watering, etc.
  5. Optimising Turf Usage
  6. Replacing Damaged Turf - techniques for replacement.
  7. Renovation of Degraded Turf - techniques to repair and renovated turf.
  8. Eradicating Turf Weeds
  9. Treating Aeration & Drainage Problems - compaction, etc.
  10. Managing a Turf Nursery.

Irrigation (Gardens)

There are 10 lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction to Irrigation
  2. Soil Characteristics & Problems
  3. Estimating Plant Needs & Irrigation Scheduling
  4. Drainage
  5. Types of Irrigation Systems
  6. Trickle Systems
  7. Design Specifications
  8. Pumps & Filters
  9. Selecting the Right System for a Plant
  10. Design & Operation of Systems.

Plant Protection

There are 10 lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction: scientific names, terms, diagnosing problems
  2. Control Techniques: biological and chemical techniques, alternative methods
  3. Chemicals: characteristics of chemicals
  4. Identifying Diseases: symptoms, fungi and viruses and other pathogens
  5. Disease Control: life cycle of fungi
  6. Insect Classification: biology and insect classification
  7. Insect Control: how to control pests
  8. Non Insect Pests: nematodes, snails, centipedes, etc.
  9. Chemical Weed Control: weed identification
  10. Non‑chemical Weed Control: natural control methods

Weed Control

The course is divided into 8 lessons as follows:

  1. Weed Identification: review of the system of plant identification, general characteristics of the weeds, further information, contacts, etc.
  2. Weed Control Methods: practical research on management of weeds, understanding terminology and the use of mulches
  3. Chemical Weed Control: review of commercial and domestic herbicides, determining what differentiates them, their availability and use.
  4. Weed Control In Specific Situations: understanding weed control strategies for particular situations, accessing first hand information about weed control from industry leaders and determining a weed control program for five different sites.
  5. Safe Chemical Application: reviewing what types of chemicals and application methods are used in the industry and the required safety procedures for the handling and administrating chemical herbicides.
  6. Non-Chemical Weed Control: determining any detrimental effects chemical herbicides have on the environment, reviewing non-chemical applications and their effectiveness.
  7. Dealing With Specific Weed Control Problems: looking at current industry practices for weed control and the effects on the environment, in relation to specific weed control problems.
  8. Developing A Major Weed Control Program: a practical lesson where the student can fully demonstrate their understanding of weed control by devising a weed management plan for a designated area.

Machinery and Equipment

There are eight lessons as follows:

  1. Engine Operation
  2. Hydraulics
  3. Machinery Components
  4. Hand Tools
  5. Power Tools
  6. Tractors
  7. Equipment Maintenance
  8. Specific Workplace Requirements

Horticultural Resource Management

There are ten lessons in this course as follows:

  1. Horticultural Business Structures
  2. Management Theories and Procedures
  3. Horticulture & The Law
  4. Supervision
  5. Financial Management
  6. Staff Management
  7. Improving Plant Varieties
  8. Productivity and Risk
  9. Managing Physical Resources
  10. Developing an Horticultural Business Plan

Event Management

There are 9 lessons as follows:

  1. Scope and Nature of Event Management
  2. Developing the Concept
  3. Physical an Human Resources
  4. Project Logistics
  5. Marketing an Event
  6. Financial Management
  7. Risk Management
  8. Staging the Event
  9. After the Event

Research Project I

There are 7 lessons as follows:

    1. Determining Research Needs

    2. Searching For Information

    3. Research Methods

    4. Using Statistics

    5. Conducting Statistical Research

    6. Research Reports

    7. Reporting On A Research Project.

Industry Meetings

This is satisfied by submitting documentation to confirm you have attended/participated in 100 hours of events conducted within or for the turf industry.

These may be events such as seminars, conferences, tours, visits, workshops, trade exhibitions or anything where you are able to network with other people who are involved with turf.

Proof may be in the form of a letter from an official or colleague, copies of receipts, a written report, or anything else that can indicate you have in fact attended something.


The Associate Diploma in Turf is a specialist course that will really give you the opportunity for advancement in this area. If you are passionate about turf then this is the course for you. Very well rounded and covering all aspects of turf and turf management.

Course cost: £ 3,950 (single payment)

OR 3 payments of £ 1,450

OR 6 payments of £800

Payment Method

Examination costs not included


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