This gardening online course is ideal for anyone hoping to work in garden maintenance, landscaping, garden renovation, horticulture, in parks, gardens, nurseries or garden tourism or home gardeners wanting to enhance their green thumbs!
The Certificate of Garden Maintenance will give you insights into the needs of plants, including how to prune correctly, identify signs of stress, and prevent and remedy disease.
In this gardening online course, you will also learn how to plan, manage and maintain a garden, including organising staff, equipment requirements, weed control, turf management and irrigation systems planning.
Outcomes achieved by undertaking a gardening online course include:
- Learning about planning and managing a garden
- Exploring the cost of maintenance and the expensive and less expensive areas of a garden
- Gaining an understanding of planning and garden checklists
- Studying how to analyse the maintenance of parks and gardens
- Gaining insights into how to organise garden maintenance staff
- Examining garden furnishings and machinery
- Understanding mowers and how to mow
- Learning about chippers, aerators, chain saws, mechanised sprayers, brush cutters, tractors etc.
- Exploring tool maintenance and engine troubleshooting
- Studying plastic, timber and metal outdoor furniture
- Gaining insights into protecting furnishings with stains, paints and preservatives
- Learning about feeding plants including nutritional symptoms and other problems
- Exploring how to conduct an inspection of plants
- Gaining an understanding of soil characteristics and the identification of soil issues
- Studying plant nutrition
- Gaining insights into choosing the right fertiliser
- Examining how to diagnose nutritional problems
- Understanding how to improve soils
- Learning about weed control and the nature and scope of weed problems
- Exploring natural ways to control weeds – suffocation, cultivation, burning etc.
- Gaining an understanding of common groups of weeds and options for treating and recognising different varieties
- Studying weedicides and the types of chemicals found in weedicides
- Gaining insights into which chemicals control which weeds
- Examining chemicals and the law
- Understanding natural pest control and the scope and nature of natural controls
- Learning about cultural, mechanical and physical control methods
- Exploring methods for controlling selected insects
- Studying companion planting
- Gaining insights into the tolerance levels of different plants
- Examining biological controls, natural sprays, mulching and buffer zones
- Understanding chemical pest control and ways of applying chemicals safely
- Learning about Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
- Exploring pesticides – toxicity, LD50, persistence etc.
- Studying specific chemical treatments
Tips for Pruning Plants
There are a vast variety of different plants found in gardens. And as you’ll learn in our gardening online course, pruning techniques and timings also differ depending on the plant.
Pruning essentially involves cutting off parts of a plant, but there are specific reasons to do so. Too many people prune just for the sake of pruning! Reasons to prune include:
- To remove dead or diseased wood which could affect other parts of the plant.
- To exercise control over the type of growth that occurs. For example, to promote fruiting, flowering, fruit or foliage
- To control the size and/or shape of a
- To rejuvenate an old plant. For example, to replace old wood with new wood.
The above things are achieved in different ways on different plants:
Removing Dead or Diseased Wood
Some plants are more susceptible to infection than others when you cut into their living tissue. These include Birch trees and some herbaceous plants. Many plants can also find it difficult to contain wood rot once it starts, so the infected wood needs to be cut out before the disease spreads. When removing dead or diseased wood:
- Always cut back into healthy, living tissue, and don’t leave any diseased wood on a plant after pruning.
- Use sharp tools, make your cuts sharp and clean and don’t tear or bruise plants. Your tools should also be clean as when pruning diseased wood they may pick up disease spores which can be transferred to healthy wood. It is recommended you dip your secateurs in an antiseptic in between pruning different plants.
Controlling the Type of Growth
There are three main types of plant growth – roots, flowers/fruit and vegetative top growth (for example, leaves and stems). Discouraging one type of growth can help redirect the effort of the plant into other types of growth. For example:
- Removing all fruit and flowers will usually stimulate vegetative growth. The difference between flower and vegetative buds is usually determined by their shape. Flower buds are plumper than vegetative (ie. leaf or stem) buds. Sometimes plants can also have mixed buds, where there are both flowers and shoots within the one bud. This occurs commonly in the terminal buds of apples. If you cut a bud open and look at it with a magnifying glass, you can usually see the premature leaves or flowers.
- Removing side shoots will generally cause a plant to grow taller more quickly.
- Removing the growth tips will cause a plant to develop more side-shoots and become bushier.
- Thinning out fruit and flowers will decrease the total number of fruit and flowers, but will usually improve the size and quality of the remaining fruit.
- Cutting a plant back excessively will cause a flush of lush growth in the next growing season.
- Cutting the roots of a plant by plunging a spade into the soil or digging a trench, will force a flush of new growth in the roots closer to the base of the plant, particularly in plants with fibrous root systems. This “root pruning” is used to either prepare a plant for transplanting or to confine the roots from spreading into areas where they are not wanted. However, this treatment can cause poor health or death in some plants, particularly if the cuts are made too close to the trunk of the plant. So be careful!
Controlling A Plant’s Shape and Size
Different plants have different levels of tolerance to hard cutting. With some plants, you can remove fifty per cent of the foliage and improve vigour and health. With other types, removing too much foliage will commonly cause them to die.
A plant’s tolerance to pruning is typically referred to as a percentage. For example, Acacias can be cut back by up to 20 per cent. This means that if more than 20 per cent of the top growth is removed, the plant is likely to suffer. Other tips to controlling a plant’s shape and size include:
- If large branches are growing in a position where you don’t want them, it is valid to remove them.
- If foliage is spreading over a pathway, it is valid to cut it back.
- Frequent light pruning is nearly always better for a plant than irregular heavy pruning.
- If a branch that bears fruit and flowers hangs over a pool, then removal of the branch may be
- If a plant in a garden design is growing out of shape, then pruning to restore the initial design intention is recommended.
Rejuvenating A Plant
The lifespan of many plants is generally lengthened by regular pruning. To rejuvenate a plant:
- Remove old wood and leave newer wood. Roses are typically pruned this way in temperate climates over a period of years. The younger growth emerging from the base of the plant is left if it is strong, while the older woody stems are cut out. The lifespan of a rose is increased greatly by this method.
- Many annuals can be rejuvenated and given a second or third life at flowering due to pruning.
- An old vigorously growing plant that has become too large can be refreshed and reshaped by pruning.
What is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)?
IPM combines the use of chemical, biological and cultural practices to control insect pests in agricultural production. It aims to use natural parasites or predators to control pests and use selective pesticides as a backup only.
For IPM to be effective, producers need to be familiar with the life cycle and crop thresholds of pests and to act when pest numbers begin to impact crop growth and cause economic damage.
This is the non-chemical management of pests using mechanical or manual means to change the crop and soil environment to discourage pest establishment.
This is where parasitic or predatory mites and insects help to control insects that affect the productivity and quality of crops.
This involves the use of pesticides in pest management. It is used in IPM when cultural and biological control is not enough to protect crop productivity. Elective insecticides are chosen to target certain pests leaving the beneficial population unharmed.
Gain the skills and knowledge to enter the garden sector, start your own business or enhance your own gardening skills with a gardening online course such as our Certificate of Garden Maintenance.