In any industry, what separates the professional from the self-proclaimed expert is consistent self-improvement; field experience that is supported by education, credentials and membership in professional trade organizations.
There is a national testing program, administered locally, offering certification to landscape professionals in Maintenance and Irrigation. Currently offered in 28 states and Canadian provinces, the Landscape Industry Certified written and field test seeks to raise the standards of the profession, recognize proficiency in the landscape workforce, upgrade the status of individual landscape professionals and provide employers and the public with a means of identifying qualified landscape professionals.
Beginning on April 10, the Hawaii Island Landscape Association, in collaboration with the University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service, is offering its annual 10-week Landscape Maintenance Training program. This popular series is geared for landscape maintenance gardeners new to the field, those already in the field but desiring more technical knowledge, as well as experienced landscapers reviewing for the Landscape Industry Certified Technician Test. Classes are open to home gardeners as well.
The first class, “Botany and Plant ID,” reviews basic plant science before tackling plant identification slides — illustrating more than 100 tropical plants common in Hawaii landscapes. Topics covered in the following weeks include more ornamental plant ID and selection; common weeds and their control; establishing and managing landscapes; insect pest ID and control; safe pesticide use; math for landscapers; plant and soil health; pruning; turf care; and irrigation basics.
The classes will be held at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel on Wednesday afternoons from 2 to 5 p.m. Cost per class is $35 for HILA members and $40 for non-members). The fee for the entire series is $300/$350.
The certification tests will be held in Kona in June, provided we have a sufficient number of candidates. For more information and to register, visit.hilahawaii.com or contact Ty McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org or 322-4884.