Penn State Extension, University Park, Pennsylvania, is offering a virtual series of on-demand landscaping courses to help aspiring and current industry members through the winter off-season.
The courses were devised to serve all levels of expertise and involvement in the green industry, including landscape contractors, landscape maintenance professionals and horticulturists. For those looking to enter the landscaping industry or landscape businesses wanting their employees to receive additional training, the courses can provide necessary education in landscape design, installation and maintenance.
“Landscape professionals are busy from spring through the fall with little time for professional development,” says Ruth Benner, commercial horticulture extension educator based in Erie County. “Training during the slower months of winter will help these employees be well prepared for the coming season by increasing their knowledge and skills.”
The offered course topics range from training in plant identification, pruning trees and shrubs, plant biology and taxonomy, and pest and disease management. This fall, Extension opened three new online courses: “Plant Identification and Usage: Coniferous Trees,” “Weed Management for Ornamental Landscapes” and “Plant Identification and Usage: Deciduous Shrubs.”
All of the class topics were chosen using industry survey results, interviews with industry professionals and through conversations with the Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association and extension educators regarding common landscape challenges across Pennsylvania.
The courses allow landscapers to catch up on Pennsylvania Pesticide Applicator recertification credits. Multiple courses also qualify for Pennsylvania Certified Horticulturist continuing education credits.
“In a market with short labor supply, employers are utilizing professional development as a tool to attract and retain employees,” says Michael Masiuk, Penn State Extension assistant director for horticulture programs. “The landscape skills online courses were developed in collaboration with the industry to provide high-quality training companies can access 24/7.”
For more information and to register for Extension’s offered green industry courses, visit the Penn State Extension website.