Turf Care: A comprehensive introduction to the identification, selection, culture and management of turf for commercial, recreational or home use. Study at Home with this online course.

Course Code: BHT104
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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A Foundation Course for Lawn Care and Greenkeeping.

A comprehensive introduction to the identification, selection, culture and management of turf for commercial, recreational or home use.

Skills gained:

  • Weed Management
  • Pest management
  • Turf maintenance techniques
  • Irrigation
  • Turf for sports fields
  • Care of ornament turf

You can:

  • Work in the Turf Industry -this can be a great starting point
  • With an understanding of lawns and lawn care; start your own Lawn Care Business
  • Seek employment with a golf course, sports ground or other turf facility

Taking approximately 100 hours to complete it is suitable as a basic course for people working with turf, such as on a golf course or bowling green, or for keen amateurs who wish to make the most of their home lawns.

This course provides a solid foundation for establishing and managing turf for any or all of these situations.

Lesson Structure

There are 11 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Benefits of Turf
    • History of Turf
    • Turf Varieties
    • Lawn Mixes
    • What Lawn to Grow Where
  2. Turf Grass Physiology
    • Scope and Nature of Grass
    • Morphology of a Typical Grass Plant
    • The Grass Flower
    • Identifying other Distinguishing Characteristics
    • Grass Roots
    • Grass Shoots
    • Root Shoot Ratio
    • Recuperative Potential
    • Ways of Identifying a Grass
    • Key to Common Turf Grasses
    • Identification Tips for Rye grasses, Bents, Fescues and others
    • Descriptions of Major Warm Season Grasses; couch, zoysia, carpet grass
  3. Turf Establishment
    • Introduction
    • Soil Preparation
    • Seeding; seed quality, planting method, after planting care
    • Sodding or Instant Turf
    • Other Techniques; plugging, stolonizing, sprigging, chitted seed
    • Work Scheduling
    • Estimating Costs
  4. Soils
    • Understanding soil, introduction and texture
    • Soil Blends
    • pH, Buffering
    • Improving Soils Calculating Quantities of Soil Needed
    • Nutrition
    • Fertilizing Turf
    • Drainage
  5. Turf Weed Problems
    • Introduction
    • How Weeds are Spread
    • Non Chemical Weed Control in Turf
    • Chemical weed Control in Turf
    • Effective and Safe Herbicide Use
  6. Turf Pests and Diseases
    • Introduction
    • Chemical and Non Chemical Control
    • Dry Patch
    • Heat Scalds
    • Algae
    • Mosses
    • Chemical Contamination of Turf
    • Damping Off
    • Brown Patch
    • Fairy Rings
    • Dollar Spot
    • Rust
    • Smut
    • Pests occurring in Turf Grass
    • Review of Commonly Used Pesticides and Fungicides
    • Spraying Equipment
    • Domestic Lawn Care Program
  7. Turf Maintenance Techniques
    • Introduction
    • Turf Mowers
    • Mowing Guidelines
    • Length of Cut
    • Getting a Clean Cut
    • To Catch or Not to Catch
    • Pattern of Cutting
    • Cutting Steep Slopes
    • After Mowing, and lawn clippings
    • Mower Safety
    • Other Turf Maintenance Techniques
  8. Irrigation - An Overview
    • Water and Plant Growth
    • Managing water retention and loss
    • Understanding movement of Soil Water
    • Types of Soil Water
    • Testing for Soil Water
    • Estimating Water Needs
    • Irrigating Turf
    • Rate, Timing and Period for Watering
    • Cyclic Watering, Pulse Watering
    • Irrigation Equipment
  9. Playing Fields and Bowling Greens
    • Gradients for Sporting Facilities
    • Dimensions for Sports Facilities
    • Construction Procedure for a Playing Field
    • General Specs for Golf Course Preparation
    • Cricket Wicket Construction
    • Maintenance and Repair of Turf Wickets
    • Marking a Wicket
    • Treatment after Play
  10. Managing Established Turf
    • Introduction
    • Golf Course Care and Maintenance
    • Mowing
    • Watering
    • Renovation
    • Fertilizing
    • Weed Control
  11. Establishing Ornamental Turf
    • Introduction
    • Turf in Shade
    • Establishment of Ornamental Turf
    • Planning and environmental auditing


  • Identify the range of grasses and other species available for turf culture.
  • Explain the management of soils for growing turf.
  • Identify methods for the establishment of turf.
  • Explain the management of problems in turf including weeds, pests and diseases.
  • Explain maintenance practices used in turf management.
  • Plan the development of different turfs used for sport.
  • Develop plans to establish a turfed area.
  • Develop management strategies for the care of established turf.

Why Grow Turf?
There are three main reasons for which turf is created:
  • Functional
  • Recreational
  • Ornamental
FUNCTIONAL turf is used to control soil erosion, reduce dust and mud problems, reduce glare, noise, air pollution and buffer temperature fluctuations. Turf along a roadside or surrounding a factory are examples of functional turf.
RECREATIONAL turf is used for sporting activities, such as bowling greens, golf courses and football grounds, and other outdoor recreational activities such as surfacing a children's playground or picnic area.
ORNAMENTAL turf is primarily intended as a decoration, for example the front lawn of a home or office building or high quality grassed areas in public park lands.
Lawn (and paving) commonly provide the majority of open spaces within a garden.
These open spaces contrast with the more solid mass of walls, buildings and plants. As a general rule, the area covered by open spaces should be around three times greater than the area covered by such things as plants, walls and buildings. If a greater area is covered by lawn and paving, the garden may seem to be very open and the sense of privacy or protection may be lost. If the area of lawn and paving is less than 75% of the open space, the garden may feel too imposing or enclosed.
If the aim is to achieve a forest-like garden, then the objective is open spaces less than 10%.
In small patio or courtyard gardens, it is often impossible to maintain an acceptable ratio and it may be a mistake to use both paving and lawn in an 'open' area. The effect of two small areas composed of two different ground coverings can look 'patchy' and often breaks the visual unity. One or the other will normally create a far better effect in a small area.
Lawns are also Good for the Environment
Contrary to popular belief, lawns are great for the environment in the following ways:
  • Every 2-3 square metres of grass produce enough oxygen for one person for a day
  • Lawns have a cooling effect on the immediate area
  • Lawns absorb carbon dioxide emissions from nearby vehicles
  • Lawns reduce noise by absorbing and deflecting sound
  • Lawns reduce glare
  • Lawns reduce water runoff through absorption
  • Lawns improve the soil processes and general soil condition
  • Up to 90% of the mass of lawn grass is in the roots (below the ground). This binds the soil and is extremely efficient in stopping erosion.
  • Lawn grasses filter dust and dirt from the air, pollutants from water (making soil water much cleaner), and absorb unwanted gases such as carbon dioxide.
  • Lawns absorb a great deal of water in heavy rain, greatly reducing the chance of flooding.
  • A healthy lawn is a very soft surface (e.g. an egg can be dropped onto 4cm tall lawn grass from as high as 2.5 to 3 metres without breaking).
How to Design Lawns 
  • A long narrow lawn will draw the eye along the length of the lawn. A feature (such as a large tree or statue) located at the far end of this type of lawn will enhance the overall visual effect.
  • The slope of the lawn surface should relate to the mower too steep will be difficult for some mowers to negotiate. Too much unevenness in the lawn will cause the mower to shear the grass. On sloping blocks, terracing may be needed to avoid these problems. A slope of 1 in 80 is ideal.
  • Totally flat lawns don't drain well and the grass growth is poor (particularly in heavier soils). If soil isn't sandy, sub surface drainage is necessary for a quality lawn.
  • Don't have paths ending at a lawn people then step onto the lawn at the same place all of the time which means that point gets more wear than anywhere else. You are better off having a path running alongside a lawn area so that people can step onto the lawn at various spots.
  • All parts of the lawn should receive direct sunlight at some time during the day (even if only briefly) if the grass is to grow well.
  • Low branches of trees hanging over the lawn should be removed the grass needs light and you need to be able to walk under the tree when mowing.
  • Avoid having grass planted right up to the edge of a building. The eaves prevent rain reaching that strip of grass, so you will end up with one strip of lawn getting a lot less water compared to the rest of the lawn (in this situation it is better to plant a mulched garden bed which doesn't require as much water).
  • Seats, planter tubs or other furniture should not be permanently left on a lawn.
While lawns are great addition to the garden, they are not always the easiest thing to maintain in top condition. If you love the idea of a perfect lawn, why not establish a few small patches and give them lots of attention, rather than trying to create and maintain a vast area of grass.
What Does a Typical Lawn Care Involve?
An imperfect lawn might only be mown and otherwise neglected; but that type of treatment will over a period of years, lead to degradation of the quality of turf.
A "perfect" lawn may need to be sprayed regularly for weeds, pests and diseases. Lawns which are properly constructed, in particular with good drainage, can be kept in good condition by a combination of regular feeding and watering, along with spot spraying of pests, diseases and weeds whenever they are detected.
Pests and diseases will always require more frequent spraying in hot or humid conditions, so particular attention should be paid in warm climates and over summer. Weeds can be a problem at any time of year.
A typical program in a warm climate may include:
  • Regular Mowing all year round
  • Mid winter: bindii and clover herbicide (to kill young broad-leaved weeds)
  • Early spring: lawn weed/feed spray
  • Early summer: grub killer insecticide
  • Early summer: bindii and clover killer (to kill broad-leaved weeds)
  • Mid summer: Mancozeb (for fungal diseases)
  • Mid summer: weed/feed spray
  • Late summer: lawn grub insecticide
A typical program in a cool climate may involve:
  • Mowing all year, but more frequently in summer than winter
  • Mid winter: Sulphate of iron (to kill any moss or algae)
  • Early to mid spring: lawn weed/feed spray
  • Early summer: bindii and clover herbicide
  • Mid summer: lawn grub killer
  • Late summer: lawn weed/feed spray


If you are serious about working as a gardener or in the turf industry, then you need more than just a lawn mower to aid your work. Knowledge about turf care can move the scope of your employment opportunities beyond merely pushing a mower. There is demand for good lawns - not just in the turf industry but in home gardens and parks as well. If you gain extra knowledge and skills that are needed to establish and care for lawns, you will set yourself apart from others and it help you create fabulous green spaces too.

This knowledge can be used:

  • For home gardens
  • Sports grounds
  • Golf courses
  • Amenity situations (parks, roadsides, commercial sites)
  • Or to work as a gardener, green keeper or groundsman
  • To help you become a professional in this field!
UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112

Our principal John Mason is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture

Accredited ACS Global Partner

Member of the Nursery and Garden Industry Association since 1993

ACS is a silver sponsor of the AIH. The principal, John Mason, is a fellow. ACS certificate students are offered a free membership for this leading professional body.Provider.

Member of Study Gold Coast

Institute of Training and Occupational Learning (UK)

Principal John Mason is a member of Parks and Leisure Australia since 1974 and a fellow since 1998

Recognised since 1999 by IARC

Course Contributors

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

John Mason (Horticulturist)

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant.
Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK.
He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 70 books and edito

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

Adriana Fraser (Horticulturist)

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 certif

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