Organic Land Care Accreditation

Course Overview


This very intensive course prepares landscape professionals to write the SOUL Organic Land Care Accreditation exam.

It focuses on the topics covered in the exam: what sets organic / holistic horticulture apart from conventional horticulture. The major emphasis is on soil management, and the connection between soil health and landscape health. Using Organic Turf Management as an example, you will learn a new decision making framework that will enable you to work with natural processes to create and maintain healthy, beautiful landscapes.

Course Description

Soil is the foundation of landscape health. Whether you grow ornamental gardens, turf or vegetables, you need to understand how soil works.

Most often soil is primarily looked at as a growing medium, something lifeless and sterile. However, soil is the exact opposite; it's an ecosystem and needs to be managed as such. The greatest biodiversity on earth occurs, or should occur, in the top few inches of soil. Soil ecosystem health and plant health are inseparably linked.

Soil processes are universal, applying equally to ornamental landscapes, turf and agricultural crops. Our job is primarily one of fine-tuning.

In this intensive, professional course you will learn how to

  • assess the health of your soil and
  • support the natural processes within the soil that result in plant health.

You will learn how the use of environmental toxins is counterproductive to achieving your landscape goals. A new decision making framework will be presented to enable you to work with nature to create and maintain healthy, beautiful landscapes, including lawns.

Support for the process of transitioning a landscape from chemical dependency to organic self-sufficiency is what sets this course apart from traditional soil science courses. 

Topics include:

  • What does "organic" really mean?
  • Ecological foundation of organic practice
  • Health within ecosystems
  • Soil ecology, biology and chemistry
  • Soil / water relationship and water management
  • Soil testing
  • Nutritional causes of landscape health problems
  • Soil systems management
  • Pesticides and their effect on ecosystems
  • Unintended side effects of some conventional landscape practices
  • Transitioning landscapes to organic practices

This course is for those with previous landscaping education/experience only.

This course meets the educational requirement for becoming a SOUL Accredited Organic Land Care Practitioner, Canada’s credential for professional organic land care. The SOUL (Society for Organic Urban Land Care) Accreditation exam will be scheduled on the last afternoon of classes but is not included in this course and must be applied for separately at Continuing Education Credits can also be earned to maintain industry certifications (ISA, IPM, CNLA, BCSLA).

Student Comment

The Accreditation Course has amazing resources for future projects and staff training. I really valued the discussions and input from industry pros!
Luis Oliveira, Toronto