A horticulturalist maintains plants and planted areas, construct horticultural features, and apply treatments to improve plant growth and control pests.
What does a Horticulturalist do?
A horticulturalist may perform the following tasks:
- identify and correct soil deficiencies
- identify and treat pests and diseases on plants
- prepare fields, garden beds or lawn areas by cultivating soil and adding fertilisers and compost
- use growth regulators and other chemicals
- read landscape plans and construct rockeries, paths or ponds
- plant and transplant flowers, shrubs, trees and lawns
- maintain gardens by fertilising, trimming and making sure that plants are receiving adequate water
- prune trees and hedges in ways that help the plants' health, are safe and look good
- thin out, hoe, irrigate and fertilise crops
- maintain lawn and grass areas using machinery, fertilisers and chemicals
- service equipment such as tools, lawn mowers and heavy machinery
- operate and install irrigation and drainage systems
- plan and supervise other workers' daily activities
- develop long-term plans, set budgets and manage the financial aspects of the organisation or business
Horticultural tradespersons usually work outdoors and in all kinds of weather. Some of the work is physically demanding as it involves bending, lifting and handling machinery such as tractors, rollers and edging machines. Protective clothing must be used when handling fertilisers and pesticides, and to prevent injury while using machinery.
How do I become a Horticulturalist?
To become a Horticulturalist you usually have to complete an Apprenticeship in Horticulture. Entry requirements may vary but employers generally require a minimum of Year 10. Training is usually both on and off the job. The off-the-job training is provided through Registered Training Organisations (RTO’s), including Group Training Companies. Details of the training may vary depending on the needs of the employer and are finalised as part of the training agreement.
Qualifying as a Horticulturalist involves:
- Three to Four years commitment
- Attending paid work with a “host employer” for the duration of the apprenticeship
- Attending off-the-job training at an RTO
Ideal Personal Requirements to be a Horticulturalist include:
- Enjoy practical and mechanical work
- Able to undertake manual and heavy work
- Able to work for long hours
- Able to work outdoors in all sorts of weather conditions