Course CodeVHT004
Fee CodeAC
Duration (approx)800 hours
QualificationAdvanced Certificate

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.
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 3 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


Enrol Now or
(Go to top of page to enrol)
connect with one of our horticulture tutors
get advice about courses and working in horticulture

Click and Send your Details

Meet some of our academics

Adriana Fraser Adriana has worked in horticulture since the 1980's. She has lived what she preaches - developing large gardens and growing her own fruit, vegetables and herbs and making her own preserves. In 1992 she formalised her training by graduating with a certificate in horticulture and a few years later, completed a Advanced Diploma in Horticulture amongst other qualifications. Adriana has worked across a broad spectrum of the horticulture industry and has developed a strong network of contacts in horticulture around Australia and beyond. She has written and contributed to many books and magazine articles. She has a passion for plant knowledge and sustainability and a natural understanding of how people learn about horticulture and has taught in various institutions and organistions as well as ACS. Adriana has been a tutor with ACS since the mid 90's and based on the feedback from past students has been an overwhelming success in helping people develop their skills and further careers in horticulture.
Bob James 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 Masters Degree in Environmental Science. He has worked a Grounds Manager at a major university; and a manager in a municipal parks department. Over recent years he has been helping younger horticulturists as a writer, teacher and consultant; and in that capacity, brings a diverse and unique set of experiences to benefit our students.
Gavin Cole 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. In the mid 90's he worked as a manager and garden designer with the well respected UK company -The Chelsea Gardener. A few years later he formed his own garden design business, at first in the UK, and later operating in Queensland Australia. He has since moved to, and works from Adelaide. Apart from his work in landscaping, Gavin has been a prolific garden writer and a tutor with ACS Distance Education since 2001. He is currently part of the team of garden experts that produce Home Grown magazine.
Rosemary Davies 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 Department of Agriculture in Victoria providing advice to the public. Over the years she has taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening in Victoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer. She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe. In 1999 Rosemary was BPW Bendigo Business Woman of the Year and is one of the founders and the Patron, of the Friends of the Bendigo Botanic gardens. She has completed her 6th book this year and is working on concepts for several others. Rosemary has a B Ed, BSc Hort, Dip Advertising & Marketing

Check out our eBooks

Fruit, Vegetables and HerbsHome grown produce somehow has a special quality. Some say it tastes better, others believe it is just healthier. And there is no doubt it is cheaper! Watching plants grow from seed to harvest and knowing that the armful of vegies and herbs you have just gathered for the evening meal will be on the table within an hour or two of harvest, can be an exciting and satisfying experience.
Garden Design Part 1This stunning full colour Garden Design ebook is full of useful tips, information and inspiration. It contains around 300 colour illustrations! It is comprised of three parts: Design, How a Garden Functions and Aesthetics (making it look good).
Getting Work in HorticultureFind out what it is like to work in horticulture; how diverse the industry is, how to get a start, and how to build a sustainable, long term and diverse career that keeps your options broad, so you can move from sector to sector as demand and fashion changes across your working life.
Starting a Nursery or Herb FarmIt's often amazing how much can be produced, and the profit that can be made from a few hundred square meters of land. To work efficiently and profitably, a nursery or herb farm must be both well organised and properly managed. As with any business, it is essential to be confident enough to make firm decisions as and when needed. This e-book is your ticket to a fragrant future.



It's Easy to Enrol

Select a Learning Method

I am studying from...

Enable Javascript to automatically update prices.

All prices in Australian Dollars.

Payment plans available.

Courses can be started at any time from anywhere in the world!