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Organic Land Care Certificate Program

The Rutgers Organic Land Care Certificate Program provides education to landscapers and land care providers on organic practices for promoting healthy soil, enhancing biodiversity, and reducing polluted runoff from managed landscapes. The core of the program is a 4-day annual course designed for professional landscapers, property managers, public works employees, groundskeepers, and landscape architects. The class is usually offered in the winter.

More than 20 university and industry experts share their experience of how to successfully transition a landscape to organic management and add organic services to a business.

Certificate program requirements include:

  • Attendance at the 4-day training course
  • Passing an optional exam based on course content.

Participants that pass the exam receive a certificate of completion and are listed in the Find A Landscaper section of this website as having completed the Rutgers Organic Land Care Certificate program requirements.

Past Credits offered:

  • Pesticide recertification credits for NJ, NY, and PA
  • Fertilizer re-certification credits for New Jersey (ProFact)
  • The NJDEP Natural Turf and Landscape Management Certificate.
  • NOFA AOLCP credits
  • Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES)

Sample Schedule and Past Speakers:
Day 1

  • Physical, Chemical, Biological Aspects of Soil– Rachel DeFlumeri, Master Gardener Coordinator, Rutgers
  • Soil Food Web- Jennifer Adams Krumins, Associate Professor, Montclair State University
  • Lawn Installation, Fertilization, and Management- Matt Elmore, Weed Scientist Extension Specialist in Turfgrassand Brad Park, Sports Turf Research & Education Coordinator, Rutgers University

Day 2

  • Pesticide Risk, Toxicity and Environmental Contamination- Roy Meyer, Former Bureau Chief, NJDEP
  • Water Quality Protection, Michele Bakacs, Environmental Agent, Rutgers Cooperative Extension
  • Compost and Compost Tea- Michael Kolenut, President, Lincoln Landscaping
  • Sustainable Landscape Design- Jan-Marie Traynor, Professor Emeritus, County College of Morris
  • Tree and Shrub Planting and Plant Care- Larry Kuser, Owner, Fernbrook Farms

Day 3

  • Key Insect/Mite Pests of Landscape Trees & Shrubs- Steve Rettke, Ornamental IPM Program Associate, Rutgers
  • Incorporating Native Plants and Lawn Alternatives-  Rik McCoy, President, McCoy Horticultural Services
  • Landscaping with Edible Plants- Joseph Heckman, Extension Specialist in Soil Fertility, Rutgers
  • Organic Principles- History and Philosophy- Joseph Heckman, Extension Specialist in Soil Fertility, Rutgers
  • Diseases and Disorders in the Landscape: Managing the Mania- Nick Polanin, Rutgers Cooperative Extension

Day 4

  • Rain Gardens- Amy Rowe, Environmental Agent, Rutgers Cooperative Extension
  • Business Management and Customer Communications- Chris Paul, President, Genesis Landscape Contractors
  • Organic Landscapers Panel Discussion- Barry Draycott, Tech Terra Environmental; Keith Haitz, HydroGreen;  Steve Davidson, Earth Groomers; Rik McCoy, and Chris Paul
  • Exam, pesticide recertification form distribution, program evaluation

tree and shrub plant care