By NORA HESTON TARTE
With young professionals buying up properties in San Joaquin County, the role of landscape professionals is changing. More than simple edging and mowing, homebuyers hiring gardeners are placing an emphasis on green practices.
The University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources is offering a nine-week Green Gardener course at the San Joaquin County extension in Stockton for professionals who want to learn more about green gardening practices. The course includes three three-week modules, starting in January 2018.
“It teaches (landscape professionals) things they don’t know they don’t know about how to have the healthiest landscapes possible as well as environmentally friendly,” said Horticulture Advisor Karrie Reid.
This is not a course for your backyard gardener. It is specifically formatted to help professionals offering lawn care services improve their practices and receive a certification to increase marketability.
At the end of the course a final exam is given and upon passing students will receive a qualification. As Green Gardeners they are promoted on the University website as well as by the County. Green Gardeners can use the certification to appeal to new clients and charge premiums for services.
Course subjects include, but are not limited to, conserving water, reducing green waste in landfills, reducing pesticide use, preventing polluted runoff water to the Delta, saving time and energy and producing better looking landscapes.
The course, which has been offered in the past, often sees school district groundskeepers, city park employees and university staff amongst its students. Reid says that alone shows top professionals see the benefit of the program.
To register, visit ucanr.edu/sites/GreenGardener. The deadline for registration is Jan. 12, one week before the start of the first course. The cost is $30 per person per course (or $90 for the full program).