Course CodeBHT342
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Know More about Turf - Be an Expert in Turf Species and their Appropriate Application: Right Grass for the Right Place

Learn a lot more about different turf grass species, sub species and cultivars. Understand their comparable characteristics and gain the ability to make better desiccation about what to use in varied situations.

Turf or lawn is a surface covered by (normally) grasses growing in an unnatural environment contrived by man. Other plants may occasionally be used as a lawn or mixed with grasses to create a lawn, but lawns are for the most part created with only grasses.
Lawns don’t just happen naturally. They are planned, put there by people and maintained through mowing and other practices. If we want the turf cover to be sustainable and fit for purpose, it needs to be purposefully planned and maintained.

The grasses which you choose to use in a turf, need to be understood and carefully selected to meet the purpose of that turf. Making a good choice of grass variety can make a huge difference to the quality of the surface, the health of the grasses, what it can be used for and the cost of maintaining it in terms of moth money and resources.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
  2. Fescues
  3. Bentgrasses
  4. Ryegrasses
  5. Bluegrasses
  6. Couchgrasses
  7. Buffalo and Zoysia Grasses
  8. Other Warm Condition Grasses
  9. Other Cool Condition Grasses
  10. Turf grass Mixes

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Most turfs or lawns are a community comprising more than just one turfgrass cultivar.

There are lots of different ways of classifying different types of turf cultivars. All are helpful.

Under the scientific system for classifying grasses, all grasses belong to the same plant family, which is called Poaceae. Previously the family was called Graminae; and you may still find references that use that as the family name.
The family Poaceae is divided up into a number of different broad sub groups called “tribes”.
Those tribes are then further divided into groups called genera; and those genera are again divided.
The more commonly grown tribes and genera found in each are:

  • Chlorideae includes Cynodon, Buchloe and Bouteloua
  • Horideae includes Lolium and Agropyron
  • Zoysieae includes Zoysia
  • Agrostideae includes Agrostis, Phleum and Ammophila
  • Festuceae includes Festuca, Poa and Bromus
  • Paniceae includes Paspalum, Pennisetum, Stenotaphrum and Axonopus

Understanding this can provide you with a scientific framework for classifying grasses with shared characteristics. Your understanding of this will develop as you study this course.


What is Turf?

In 1973, Beard defined a turf as “an aggregation of individual turfgrass plants that have mutual relationships with the environment as well as among the individual plants”

Turfgrass swards (soil and living plants) are ecosystems made up of a variety of species all competing for nutrients, light, water and oxygen. The degree to which one competes with the others will constantly change, as the environmental conditions vary (particularly across seasons), and as different pests and diseases impact to suppress one in favour of others.

Management practices can impact significantly on these interactions, to favour one species or discourage another.

The species growing in a well managed turf will be largely contrived to create a desired type of turf cover across the seasons, and to meet the intended purpose of that turf, whether as a sports surface, for erosion control, aesthetic affect, or something else. There is always the possibility of unplanned species entering the sward as weeds. If unmanaged, weeds can eventually dominate some turf swards; and the original turfgrass species may die out completely. This level of change in a sward may be acceptable in some situations (eg. a mown sward on a roadside); but it can significantly degrade the value of turf in other situations (eg. sports greens).


This is a course for Green keepers, Groundsmen, Turf Managers, Gardeners and others.

Anyone who works with Turf Grasses needs to know the things that this course covers.


Meet some of our academics

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.
Jan Kelly Dip Hort Over 50 years experience in horticulture. More than twenty years as owner/manager of a plant nursery. She worked in both Australia and New Guinea, in many different roles.
John Mason 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 editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
Timothy Walker B.A.Botanist, Horticulturist and Gardener. Author and lecturer at Somerville College, Oxford. After training at a number of gardens including Windsor Great Park, and the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew commenced work at Oxford Botanic Gardens in 1986. Appointed as Horti Praefectus (ie. superintendent/director) there in 1988, and held that position till 2014. Under Timothy's watch the garden won four gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show; and created 67 acres of MG5 wild flower meadow at the Harcourt Arboretum

Check out our eBooks

Starting a Gardening or Landscape BusinessExpert advice on how to get started in your own garden or landscape business! Packed with valuable business advice, horticultural and landscaping knowledge, and practical ideas - this book is a must have for garden lovers. It is great for anyone thinking about (or already involved in), a horticultural, landscaping or garden business. This updated re-print is only available as an ebook.
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).
WeedsA good cross section of of common weeds are illustrated and reviewed. These are plants that occur in many parts of the world, and some are not always weeds.
Growing & Knowing Grasses With full colour pictures and descriptions of plants, this ebook is a must-have for gardeners, landscapers, green keeper or home-gardener who wants to broaden their knowledge on different grasses and their uses.



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