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Brick home exterior and lawn
Cooperative Extension

South Carolina Certified Landscape Professional: Course Syllabus

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, you will be able to...

  • Explain the importance of proper soil management and describe how soil management relates to plant nutrition.

  • Accurately identify common landscape trees, shrubs, and plants.

  • Explain and apply key turf management practices.

  • Describe integrated pest management standards and justify the importance of these standards for landscape professionals.

  • Identify and apply environmentally friendly landscape management practices.

Course Modules

Garden tools in soil

Soils and Plant Biology

This module focuses on understanding the basics of soils and plant physiology. This module provides an important foundation to the rest of the course. Learning physiology will help you learn how plants work and why we perform certain tasks.

Topics include:

  • Understanding and Amending Soils
  • General Plant Biology & Nutrition
  • Fertilizers
  • Site Assessment
  • Planting Bed & Soil Preparation
Black Oak tree

Tree Identification

Proper plant identification is critical to being a landscape professional. Many times, plants are often misidentified which can lead to other problems down the road. This section will likely be one of the most useful to your current job role.

Topics include:

  • Plant ID techniques
  • Deciduous Trees and Shrubs
  • Evergreen Trees and Shrubs
  • Ornamental Grasses and Palms
  • Groundcovers and Vines
Saw cutting a tree branch

Introduction to Tree Care

Proper tree installation, establishment, and care doesn’t have to be complicated or a secret. This module is designed to introduce you to the world of arboriculture. Knowing how to properly plant and care for trees will help you establish yourself as a true landscape professional.

Topics include:

  • Site assessment
  • Tree suitability
  • Nursery plant selection
  • Transplant & care
turfgrass in front yard

Turf Management

All clients want a pretty lawn. Turf and lawn management is a big portion of the landscaping industry. This module is designed to give you a basic understanding of the different turfgrasses and how to manage them.

Topics include:

  • Biology & Growth
  • Selection
  • Right turf, right place
  • Installation & Establishment
  • Maintenance
landscaped front yard with stone pathway

Shrubs, Perennials, and Annuals

This module is all about learning the different plant material. Having a good working knowledge of how to select and care for: annuals, herbaceous perennials, and shrubs, will help you be able to make different choices of material based on the landscape situation.

Topics include:

  • Right Plant, Right Place
  • Herbaceous Plants and Shrubs
  • Shrubs
Fertilizer spreader

Spreader / Sprayer Calibration

Proper calibration of application equipment can be one of the trickiest tasks that commercial applicators face. However, it is one of the most important steps in making fertilizer or chemical applications, second only to reading and following the label. An improperly calibrated spreader will apply too much or too little product and may result in uneven fertilization, injury to the lawn or other plants, inadequate control of target pests, environmental harm, and/or a waste of money.

Topics include:

  • Preparation
  • Boom Sprayer Calibration
  • Backpack Sprayer Calibration
  • Rotary Spreader Calibration
  • Drop Spreader Calibration  
lawn sprinkler

Successfully Managing Water in the Landscape

Water is becoming more and more of a precious resource. This module is designed to give you an overview of what types of irrigation can be used, and how to properly irrigate landscapes and turf areas. We will also dive into water quality issues which are becoming more of an issue in South Carolina.

Topics include:

  • Laws & Regulations
  • Types of Irrigation
  • Irrigation Scheduling
  • Irrigation Evaluation
  • Water Quality
  • Water Saving Techniques
permeable pavement

Low Impact Development

Low impact development and environmentally friendly options are becoming more and more popular. This module introduces stormwater management techniques as well as using bioswales and vegetative buffers. You will also learn some practical ways to help reduce the landscapes impact on stormwater runoff and water quality.

Topics include:

  • Stormwater management techniques
  • Bioretention ponds
  • Bioswales
  • Vegetative buffers
  • Permeable pavement
  • Greenroofs
  • Nutrient and erosion control
ladybug on a leaf

Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a bringing together of both chemical and non-chemical control methods to effectively manage pests in the landscape. In this module you will learn proper scouting techniques, identification tools, and of course some management strategies. Using IPM techniques has been proven to be the most effective and long term management option for pest management.

Topics include:

  • Scouting and monitoring
  • Identification
  • Pest management options
  • Developing an IPM program
Cooperative Extension: South Carolina Certified Landscape Professional
Cooperative Extension: South Carolina Certified Landscape Professional |