Course CodeBHT303
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn How to Maintain & Repair Turf

Turf grasses grow in a slightly different environment to other plants. They grow closely together so must compete with one another for water and nutrients, they are frequently mowed, and they are often walked upon by people and animals as well as compacted under machinery. As such, turf repair and restoration requires a different skill set and knowledge base to other plant maintenance.

Turf will deteriorate if it is not monitored, maintained and repaired.

Understand how to maintain healthy turf

In this course you will discover trade techniques for optimising turf health. Learn about how environmental factors impact upon turf health. Conduct inspections and assess turf. Decide when to irrigate and how often. Learn how to control a range of turf problems like pests and diseases, water logging and compaction. 

Comment from Student: "In my role within a large Aged Care Facility a great deal of my employment is spent in the area of Turf management and garden care/refurbishment. With ACS I was able to study at my own pace allowing me to put into practise and thoroughly research the subject matter broadening my knowledge and study experience further. I enjoyed the way in which the subject matter was presented as it allowed you to study each subject further, allowing for greater depth, clarity and knowledge. Overall there are not many areas in which the course subject matter will not turn out to be invaluable, everything is covered to allow you to become successful within your own business or place of employment. A big thank you to Gavin Cole [tutor] and all at ACS. It was a pleasure to study with ACS, look forward to further study." (Craig Ledbury, Australia, Turf Repair & Renovation)

Who should do this Course?

  • People working in the turf industry as green keepers, groundsmen or gardeners
  • Turf. parks or gardens managers seeking who may have studied general horticulture but wish to deepen their understanding of turf
  • Students of gardening wishing to enhance their skills and career prospects in lawn care or turf.
  • Garden consultants (for professional development -to broaden the scope of services they can offer)
  • Anyone selling turf supplies (in nurseries, turf seed companies, irrigation companies, turf equipment companies, etc.)

This is a unique course designed to make you think broader and more deeply about how problem turf can be repaired and improved. You learn through a very practical, experiential style of study (proven to be more effective in developing problem solving skills than the competency based style of training that is used in many other schools). If you want to grow your skills in this area of endeavour; this could be an ideal course for you.


The content of this course is directed to the diagnosis and treatment of problems in turf.

There are ten lessons are as follows:

1. Understanding Turf Deterioration

  • Inspecting Deteriorated Turf
  • Using Checklists
  • Report Forms
  • The Effect of Traffic on Turf; wear and tear, soil compaction, environment, varieties, traffic control
  • Turf Quality
  • Factors affecting visual quality
  • Factors affecting functional quality

2. Repair and Renovation Equipment

  • Scope of Equipment
  • Machines that Penetrate the soil
  • Aerators; hollow tine, solid tine, drills, scoop tines
  • Air injectors
  • Slicing machines
  • Thatch Removal Scarifiers
  • Rakes
  • Sod Cutters
  • Planters
  • Sprayers
  • Tool Maintenance
  • Tractors; clutch, transmission, PTO, differential, etc
  • Tractor Safety
  • Calibrating Sprayers

3. Turf Cultivation Techniques

  • What is Cultivation
  • Soil Damage
  • Thatch Build Up
  • Salt or Toxin Accumulation
  • Impermeable Surfaces
  • Drainage and Aeration Management
  • Tree Roots competing with Turf
  • Coring
  • Spiking
  • Drilling
  • Grooving
  • Using Forks, Hoes, Rotary Hoes

4.  Health Improvement Techniques

  • Minimising Problems
  • Understanding what can go Wrong in Turf
  • Assessing Problems
  • Conducting an Inspection
  • Tell Tale Symptoms
  • Problems that are Difficult to Diagnose
  • Common Turf Pests and Dealing with them
  • Common Turf Diseases and Dealing with the,
  • Irrigation and Soils
  • Operation of Watering Systems
  • Sprinkler Spacing
  • Designing for Best Sprinkler Performance
  • Feeding Turf

5. Optimising Turf Usage

  • Turf Use, type of use, quantity of use
  • Turf Friendly Footwear
  • Machinery Damage
  • Minimising Damage
  • Preparing for Use
  • Rolling

6. Replacing Damaged Turf

  • Problems and Solutions
  • Turf Repair
  • Sportsgrounds
  • Turf Wickets
  • Planting Turf; topdressing, sprigging, sodding, plugging, stolonising, chitted seed
  • Ploughs, Cultivators, Scarifiers
  • Seeding

7. Renovation of Degraded Turf

  • Introduction
  • Golf Course Renovation, topdressing, changing pins and tees, feeding, soil ameliorants, greens and tees
  • Weed Control
  • Insect and Disease Control
  • Dealing with Snow Problems

8. Eradicating Turf Weeds

  • Where and Why Weeds are a Problem in Turf
  • Weeds in Seed Beds
  • Weeds in New or Established Turf
  • Where do Weeds Come From
  • General Weed Control
  • Ways to Control Weeds; suffocation, burning, cultivation, changing pH, biological control, chemicals
  • Weed Dispersal Mechanisms
  • Review of Common Turf Weeds

9. Treating Aeration and Drainage Problems

  • Soil compaction, what it is, solutions, etc.
  • Drainage
  • Improving surface drainage
  • Improving Water Infiltration
  • Sub Surface Drains; layout, outlets, gradients, depth of drain, laying the drain
  • Soil Degradation; erosion, Loss of soil fertility, Salinity, Soil acidification, Build up of dangerous chemicals.

10. Managing a Turf Nursery.

  • Types of Turf Nursery
  • Growing a Sod Crop



  • Compare characteristics of different turf cultivars with reference to hardiness, pest and
    • disease resistance, tolerance to play, suitability for different applications, etc
  • Explain different turf problems (including; soil problems, pest & disease weed, environmental, etc)
  • Explain the effect of various adverse situations on the physiology of turf plants.
  • Carry out turf consultancy, conducting site inspections and giving appropriate recommendations.
  • Develop appropriate solutions for the repair of damaged turf.
  • Identify causes of deterioration in a specific turf surface.
  • Explain various repair techniques for controlling problems that have been identified.
  • Compare appropriate responses different problems that are causing degradation of turf.
  • Develop turf renovation programs for different turf surfaces
  • Compare renovation programs for different types of turf
  • Identify when renovation becomes economically wise.

How to Repair Compacted Turf
Traffic causes compaction. The more vehicles used on the sports turf, the more damage will result. Tracts that are continually walked over eventually develop compacted soil. This will influence the frequency of maintenance required. Deposits of organic matter can build an impermeable layer on the surface. Thatch, if not removed, may result in increased diseases or may hinder water movement into the root zone of the turf grasses. Root growth of some species can also cause a thatch build up.
When compaction or thatch build-up has reached a point where it makes a soil relatively impermeable or poorly drained, cultivation will be needed.
Cultivation can be undertaken manually or by machine. Machines are used on the majority of sports-turf facilities due to the size of the area to be maintained. The following are just some techniques that may be used:
  • Coring: Soil and turf are extracted as a clean core, in the same way an apple corer extracts the core of an apple. This is done using a machine with hollow tines, somewhat like small pieces of pipe with a sharpened end, or spoons which scoop out a core of soil.
  • Drilling: Soil, and some turf plant material, is extracted by a drill being rotated into the surface of the turf. Drilling is generally to a deeper level than that of a coring machine.
  • Grooving: Cuts vertical slits in the turf by a rotating knife apparatus. It is best done on dry soils. It is commonly used for dethatching and over-seeding purposes.
  • Slicing: A flat blade which may be a disc or a blade like a mower blade slices the ground. This method does not tend to bring soil to the surface as with coring or drilling, but it does break the surface improving the infiltration of water and nutrients
  • Spiking: Solid tines or spikes puncture the surface. Spiking is used to break the surface helping water and fertiliser to penetrate whilst causing minimal disturbance to the surface. Spiking can create some compaction around the sides of the holes as the spike pushes into the soil. In this way, it is not as effective as coring or drilling. .
  • Forking: Manual spiking, pushing a fork into the ground and moving it from side to side can alleviate compaction. This is usually only practical for small areas.
  • Raking: Usually, instruments with metal tines are used to remove thatch, to loosen topsoil for preparation of over-sowing, and spreading seed.
  • Air blast: This is pumping a burst of air into the soil which causes the soil surface to rise. The soil will of course quickly subside, but not all the way. The net result is a reduction of soil compaction and an increase in aeration.
  • Vertical Mowing: Blades cut into dense thatch, removing some of the bulk of both live and dead turf plant material. The knives may be set to cut lower or higher, as required.

Who Needs These Skills?

 Any type of turf grass will eventually deteriorate; and that situation leaves only three possible options:
  1. Live with a poorer quality turf
  2. Remove and replace with new turf
  3. Renovate and return the turf to high quality 
Often home gardens and large parks are largely left as is; because the cost of replacing or renovating is not worth the effort; but if the turf is in a high profile situation where quality matters; then it needs attention. 
  • Consider a league football ground that is damaged one week and needs to be used for a televised game just one week later.
  • Consider a lawn tennis court or bowling green. Damage here means the ball doesn't bounce or roll predictably.
The ability to repair and renovate turf effectively, can bed the difference between someone being an average greenkeeper; and an exceptionally valuable turf professional.


Reasons to Study This Course

This course is of value to people who have an interest in grass and turf surfaces. People who take this course are most likely those working in or aspiring to work in:

Turf maintenance
Green keeping
Lawn mowing
Sports turf maintenance
Grounds maintenance
Parks & gardens

The course will also be of value to people wishing to include a turf repair service as part of an existing mowing, gardening or landscaping business.


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