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We recommend you choose the online learning method as all online courses provide access to download course notes to access offline or print. If you do require your course to be supplied on USB stick then please contact us first to check availability for your country.

Turf Care

Course CodeBHT104
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

11 Lessons with Set Tasks -11 assignments. 100 hours, self paced

  • Learn to plant, establish, mow and repair lawns
  • Save money, increase profitability - make the right decisions
  • Increase your employability or start your own turf business
  • Seek work on a golf course, sports ground, bowls club, or in a turf supply company
  • Learn to grow turf you can be proud of

" Thanks for the videos, they are great! I got a lot of information from them. The Turf Management video is practical and easy to understand. Plant Propagation is a video every student should watch because out here in the real world no-one would give out such information. The Rose Growing Tape was very beneficial to me as I have about 60 odd roses. I thought I knew a little about them but this tape is a real eye-opener."
- Kelvin
" I have never found the staff at any other learning institution as supportive as the staff at ACS. This gives one a lot of peace of mind and confidence to go on - at every squeak from my side, you guys have always been there, immediately to sort me out. The feedback on my lessons has always been really good and meaningful and an important source of my learning. Thanks!..."
- Student with ACS

This is the ideal course for anyone wishing to undertake employment in a turf or lawn business, or as a landscape gardener. You will learn the basics in terms of turf grass varieties, soil management, cultivation techniques, irrigation and feeding of turfs used for different purposes.When planning a new lawn, or renovating an old one, it is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of different grasses, and why certain grasses are used in preference to others. The intended or actual use (and maintenance) of a particular area is the deciding factor.

For example bent grasses and fescues such as Chewings and Creeping Red can withstand lower mowing than other grasses. The bent grass strains known as Penncross and Palustris are both stoloniferous and tend to become spongy with age. If these bent are used alone or with fescues in a lawn, bowling green or golf green, annual scarifying, preening and coring is essential for their maintenance. In a park or sports oval these varieties of bent tend to colonise and form patches choking out all other grasses giving a very patchy appearance.

This course teaches you about the different grasses, the techniques used to establish them and the measures that must be taken to maintain an acceptable surface.


There are eleven lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction - Benefits of turf, History of Turf, Turf Varieties (Bent, Couch, Buffalo, Fescues, Rye, Carpet grass, Kikuyu, Brome, Bluegrass, Philaris, etc), Lawn mixes
  2. Turf Grass Physiology -Morphology, flower, stems, leaves, roots, Other characteristics, How to identify grasses, Plant Keys, Identifying short cuts, etc.
  3. Turf Establishment -Soil preparation, Seeding, Sodding, Stolonizing, Sprigging, Plugging, Chitted Seed, Drainage, Work scheduling, Estimating costs.
  4. Soils -Understanding soil, Texture, Soil blends, Structure, pH, Buffering capacity, Improving Soils, Choosing soils, Calculating soil quantities, Cation exchange, Plant nutrients, Fertilisers, etc.
  5. Turf Weed Problems -How weeds spread, Non chemical controls, Chemical controls, chemical safety
  6. Turf Pests & Diseases -Chemical and non chemical controls, Common turf health problems (Environmental, Nutrition, Pest, Disease)
  7. Turf Maintenance Techniques - Mowing, Mowers, Length of Cut, Getting a clean cut, pattern of cutting, cutting on slopes, after cutting, Mower safety, Aeration, Coring, Scarification, Spiking, etc.
  8. Irrigation - An Overview : Water loss from soils, Improving water retention, Movement of water in soil, Field capacity, Estimating water needs of turf, Watering turf, When to irrigate, Irrigation rate, Types of irrigation, etc.
  9. Playing Fields & Bowling Greens -Gradients and dimensios for different surfaces (ornamental, types of sports etc), Construction of a playing field, Sand based technology, Golf Courses, Cricket Wickets, etc.
  10. Managing Established Turf - Mowing, Watering, Topdressing, Fertilizing, Weed and Pest control.
  11. Establishing Ornamental Turf -Assessing the site, Developing Plans, Preparing a budget, etc


  • 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.

What Does Home Lawn Care Require?

To ensure your lawn remains in the best possible condition you will need to carry out some maintenance. The amount that you do will depend on the time and resources you have available and your level of motivation.

Maintenance Tasks

  • Although mowing and watering are obvious tasks, others include; topdressing, weeding, pest control, aerating and feeding.

  • Soil structure is all important to any lawn. Over time though, soils become compacted, and the amount of organic matter in the soil will change. Even the best constructed lawn will require ongoing maintenance work to ensure the soil is always in good condition. Improve soil composition by adding water absorbent components to soil (eg. Water crystals, watering in soil wetter materials, mixing through high organic materials –composts, fine mulch, don’t smother the grass plants though).

  • Topdressing is sometimes done annually on high class turf, but for the average gardener this may only need to be done every 2-3 years. Topdressing is usually only needed to fill in depression areas or as a second action after spiking/coring.

  • Spiking/Coring is done to open the soil in order to improve aeration and water penetration. If holes are created in the soil it can help water and nutrients move deeper; and moisture that is deeper will not evaporate and be lost so readily. Ideally a small ‘core’ of soil should be removed during the process. A simple hand corer (similar in appearance to a garden fork but with hollow tines) can be obtained from some hardware and garden supplies. Coring should only be done during the active growing period.

  • Remove weeds that smother desirable turf; but consider retaining weeds that are hardy and enhance the turf’s ability to survive drought.  In city areas, there may be less weed seed being blown about. In suburban areas, more seeds may be spread. If the lawn area is new, there may a ‘bank’ of weed seeds in the soil that need time to germinate over the years to come.

  • Mowing will depend on the season and type of grass grown. Mowing grass less often and a little longer can help improve the ability of a turf to deal with drought. Cool season grasses are cut as high as 4-6cm during summer but are commonly cut down to about 3-5cm in winter (depending on species). Warm season grasses are kept generally lower at about 1—2cm in height in summer and a little longer in winter.

  • Fertilizing lawns can make a difference. A well structured lawn will drain well but if it drains, nutrients are also washed away, and fertilizing is the way you replace leached nutrients. When fertilising use the rate as recommended on the packaging. Fertilising after spiking or coring will help get the nutrients deeper into the soil; promoting deeper root growth, which is better for fighting drought. In areas where growth is vigorous, more frequent applications may be needed. In zones where seasonal rainfall is very heavy (e.g. tropics) it is best to wait till after the heaviest rainfall period is finished before applying fertiliser, otherwise most of the fertiliser is washed/leached away.

  • Watering – Lawns will be less healthy if they become too dry, or too wet. Think carefully about how much watering you are likely to need to do. If you live in a place where rainfall is low or erratic, you maybe better to have less lawn in the garden. It is better to have a small lawn that is watered properly and healthy, than a large lawn that you cannot manage. If water is pleantiful though, that may not be an issue. Choose grass cultivars that suit the rainfall and soil conditions you have. Some grasses tolerate, and may even thrice in dry conditions and other in wet. Some are not so tolerant of variable moisture conditions. Many today would encourage wise water usage, aiming to irrigate lawns less frequently with a more intense volume of water to encourage the roots of grasses to go deeper into the soil. Again, coring or spiking before watering can help the water penetrate deeper


Associate Diploma in Turf

Sports Turf Management

Turf Repair and Renovation



This course will provide you with the knowledge and skills to produce quality lawns. It will open up work opportunities that will put you ahead of others in this field - lawn care is more than just pushing a lawn mower - it is understanding what varieties to choose, how to keep a lawn healthy and weed free and looking great year round. This course provides you with the knowledge.

Your tutors are experts  - they are also dedicated to helping you throughout your course.


Meet some of our academics

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.
Maggi BrownMaggi is regarded as an expert in organic growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture across the UK for more than three decades. Some of Maggi's qualifications include RHS Cert. Hort. Cert. Ed. Member RHS Life Member Garden Organic (HDRA) .
Diana Cole B.A. (Hons), Dip. Horticulture, BTEC Dip. Garden Design, Diploma Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Life Long Learning Sector), P.D.C. In addition to the qualifications listed above, Diana holds City & Guild construction qualifications and an NPTC pesticide spraying licence (PA1/PA6). Diana runs her own landscape gardening business (Arbella Gardens). Active in many organisations including the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.

Check out our eBooks

Getting Work in a Modern WorldA realistic guide to getting a job or starting out in business. This is a must read; for students, parents, the unemployed, careers advisors or anyone interested in changing or forging a sustainable career.
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.
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.
What to Plant WhereA great guide for choosing the right plant for a particular position in the garden. Thirteen chapters cover: plant selection, establishment, problems, and plants for wet areas. Shade, hedges and screens, dry gardens, coastal areas, small gardens, trees and shrubs, lawns and garden art.