900 hour online course for broad based professional career in horticulture. Longer course means more learning, means greater career opportunities.

Course Code: VHT004
Fee Code: AC
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 800 hours
Qualification Advanced Certificate
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An Ideal Course for Anyone wanting to Learn about Horticulture, then establish their own horticultural business.

This is an exceptionally good broad based training for a lifelong career in horticulture.
This Advanced Certificate is an excellent stand alone qualification, or a sound starting point for advanced study in horticulture.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the ADVANCED CERTIFICATE IN HORTICULTURE VHT004.
 BOTANY I - Plant Physiology And Taxonomy BSC104
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 4 of the following 10 modules.
 LANDSCAPING III (Gardening Styles) BHT235

Note that each module in the ADVANCED CERTIFICATE IN HORTICULTURE VHT004 is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

Learn to Understand What Affects Plant Growth

When you understand what makes plant growth speed up or slow down; and what causes a plant to be healthy or unhealthy, you then have a basis upon which to decide how to better manage those plants.

There are many different environmental factors that influence plant growth, including temperature, moisture, wind and light. Plants also need appropriate soil conditions, nutrition and water. Growth is also affected by other living things around the plant - pests, diseases and other plants growing nearby.

Learn about the Impact of Weeds, Pests and Diseases -and managing these things.

Weed populations within cropping areas can have a significant impact on crop yields because they compete for light, water and nutrients. Crop weeds are frequently capable of swift growth, development, and maturation and can out-compete the crops they appear in. In these situations, weeds are capable of shading crop plants – thus reducing their photosynthetic efficiency, as well as competing strongly for water and nutrient resources. For these reasons, unchecked weed growth in cropping areas can lead to the failure of an entire crop in the worst case, and severe reduction in yields in many cases.

While there are a range of weed control practices such as herbicide and cultivation available to farmers, avoiding the incidence of weed germination in the first place can be an effective option. In addition to the use of residual chemicals, this can be achieved by manipulating plant spacing and density, and canopy cover. Many organic cereal farmers, for example, sow high volumes of seed. While this practice increases competition between individual cereal plants, may reduce overall yields, and can increase seed costs, it can also reduce weed populations within the crop by exploiting available sunlight, nutrients and water to the maximum extent possible. The result of this is a crop that is potentially free of contaminants in the form of unwanted weed seed. A critical issue in these types of management decisions is at what stage of plant development optimum leaf cover is achieved. With dense sowing, early seedling growth is thick enough to effectively compete with weeds, but the growth rate may be reduced in mature plants. 

Maximum yields can theoretically be achieved through the early and consistent establishment of the desired crop, and ensuring that it performs to its potential throughout the growth period. This is easily managed in monoculture cropping situations because management promotes consistency in size and stage of growth and can thus be treated uniformly. Aspects of management that are more easily manipulated in monoculture cropping situations include irrigation, fertilisation, and weed control. This is true of small annual crops such as lettuce as well as long term perennials such as tree crops or pastures. Such systems tend to have a low tolerance to weed and pest populations, regardless of their actual impact on yields, because the systems rely on maintaining consistent conditions. 

Polyculture situations, on the other hand, focus not on ‘maximum’ yields but on ‘optimum’ yields. This focus involves assessing the inputs required (in terms of energy or materials of various kinds), in relation to the resulting benefit. Polyculture cropping situations may derive yields from several species within the one cropping area. Production schedules of individual crops may be disparate (i.e. sowing, growth periods and harvesting of individual crops may not occur at the same time). Yields of individual crops may be reduced in polyculture situations. This can be off-set through the security of deriving more than one yield from a given area, increased pest control ability, and in some cases market premiums. Different cultural practices are accepted in polyculture crops than those in monoculture crops, and weed control frequently focuses more on actual impacts of weeds on crop yield than potential impacts. Yield quality can be improved or reduced, depending on selection of plant associations, management skills, and other factors. Management of polycultures is potentially far more complex than monoculture management. Examples of polyculture cropping situations include shade-grown coffee; mixed cropping stands such as peas and canola that are harvested together (seed sizes allow post-harvest separation) mixed timber stands; permaculture systems; and a variety of aquaculture systems.



 How Will You Benefit from this Course?

  • Build self confidence to do horticultural jobs you may have avoided in the past
  • Fast track business or employment opportunities in amenity or production horticulture
  • Save time -no time and money lost traveling to a horticultural school
  • Take control over when, where and speed of your studying
  • Support from a team of experienced professional horticulture tutors who have worked across both Australia and the UK
  • Learn to understand garden maintenance. Make better decisions, be more productive and effective in all you do.
  • Build connections with industry and become aware of new products, ideas, techniques and opportunities.
  • As a graduate, receive free career and business advice from our horticultural staff - yours for the asking.

Employment Prospects

  •     Start a garden or crop production business
  •     Buy an established horticultural business
  •     Get a horticultural job
  •     Acquire knowledge and skills that will make you more attractive to customers, employers or clients
  •     Work in a plant nursery, landscape, orchard, market garden, or other horticultural business
  •     Work in allied trades, horticultural sales or marketing


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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Bob James (Horticulturist)

Bob has over 50 years of experience in horticulture across both production sectors (Crops and nursery) and amenity sectors of the industry.
He holds a Diploma in Agriculture and Degree in Horticulture from the University of Queensland; as well as a Maste

Gavin Cole (Horticulturist)

Gavin started his career studying building and construction in the early 80's. Those experiences have provided a very solid foundation for his later work in landscaping. In 1988 he completed a B.Sc. and a few years later a Certificate in Garden Design. I

Rosemary Davies (Horticulturist)

Rosemary trained in Horticulture at Melbourne Universities Burnley campus; studying all aspects of horticulture -vegetable and fruit production, landscaping, amenity, turf, aboriculture and the horticultural sciences.
Initially she worked with the Depart

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