Should all horticulturalists be qualified? College project

Sam7October 2, 2013

Hi everyone, I am currently studying my Level 3 in Horticulture and one of my several units include investigating a choosen subject area and I have chosen "Should all horticulturalists be qualified and would a trade body help?" I would appreciate any sort of opinion on this.
Thanks Sam.

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

You'll need to explain what is meant by that statement.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 5:54PM
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As a requirement to do the work? No, ESPECIALLY if there's an education requirement. I'm sure we all know brilliant plant whisperers who learned it all in the field.

I support a certification though. Here in VA we have a Virginia Certified Horticulturist designation. You have to pass an exam, and it's a nice way to let people know you have a clue.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 10:12PM
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Yes, there are various routes to becoming a horticulturist and I am not sure certification is necessary in all cases - it certainly does not alter one's knowledge base or experience :-)

But like marcinde, I do support certification. In my state as well there is a professional certification program and that does establish a commonality of experience and knowledge regardless of how it was achieved.

btw, the term is horticulturist - no "al" added :-))

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 2:58PM
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It is quite OK in GB to refer to them as horticulturalists, though they are starting to use the term horticulturist more like in the U.S. You will find many reputable botanical publications referring to them as horticulturalists.

I also believe in certification, went to that trouble myself in my state's nursery association. The problem with that is there is no common criteria from state to state, and for the most part only other people in the green industry knew what that meant. and often thought that a Master Gardener trumped it for knowledge, even though that title really denotes an amateur status and usually means completing a very basic class, often with no testing.

We may have a culture clash here, because a trade body, both on the state and national scale is very much in force in the U.S. It is quasi voluntary, however. By quasi I am referring to a 'tax' imposed on all nurseries here at one time on a percentage of their profits to be used by that association to advertise nursery products and the industry. It made no difference if one belonged to that association or not. I am not strongly in support of making certifications mandatory, however. Those who have become certified may use a title, and that should flag consumers which professionals have met a professional standard of excellence.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 6:21PM
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Thanks for the replies :) I would have replied earlier but my studies and work have kept me very busy indeed. Basically I'm investigating whether they should all be qualified/belong to a trade body because of cases of cowboy gardeners which is seemingly growing. My personal view on it is that you shouldn't have to be qualified but you should belong to a trade body which you can be thrown out of for poor work.
Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 10:05AM
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It depends on how one defines "horticulturist". To me, that term assigns a professional status all on its own. A "cowboy gardener" is unlikely to be a horticulturist as well as most landscapers/garden maintenance workers, heck even landscape designers. The title of horticulturist is much like that of botanist or chemist - it is granted to one who has made a study of horticulture (or botany or chemistry, etc.) and that implies a formal type of education and a depth of knowledge unique to that title.

I do believe the industry could benefit from various types of certification programs depending on the participant's career path and primary job responsibilities. And in many cases, these certification programs DO exist, at least on a state by state basis (with a few national certification programs). But these are only effective if the general public or the consumers of these services are aware of them and insist on them being a factor in their hiring decisions. That's where the trade bodies become important........educating and informing their market that these certification programs and the qualifications that they endorse, whatever they are, are important and necessary hiring factors.

btw, I've included a blog discussion of the appropriateness of the term 'horticulturalist' versus 'horticulturist''s a quick, amusing read. And I don't know of any of my peers that refer to themselves as 'horticulturalists'......that typically implies a lack of familiarity with the profession :-))

Here is a link that might be useful: horticulturalist versus horticulturist

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 2:47PM
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I've always referred to myself as a nurseryman, and if the audience doesn't 'get it' call myself a grower. If they still don't get it.......I'm addressing the wrong audience. The only time I ever had the term horticulturist associated with me was when an extension agent called me that to a group to whom I was giving a presentation. Yes,of course everyone 'should' be qualified in whatever profession they ply but I'm assuming you mean should they be credentialed? Those are two different meanings.

I am sure there are trade bodies in G.B. and have you check with them to see if they do not have a credential program? In fact at your level of education, you should be associating with them already. There are many paths to a career in gardening, and many excellent practioners are self or on-the-job taught. I should think that they'd be the most interested in obtaining some sort of certification. However, their expertise often spreads through word of mouth if they are any good, and a smart one will have a portfolio to present and a list of references. The bottom line is caveat emptor for those who need work done. I find that many home owners are rather confused about what constitutes a 'landscaper' or professional gardener. The big red flag here, is if they also mow grass..........they probably aren't. LOL

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 10:09PM
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Hi Sam7,
I'm posting from the US and here's what works for me.
I am a nurseryman, by that I mean a grower of mostly woody plants. My state has a professional nurseryman's association. We pay annual dues, get together periodically, fund scholarships and participate in trade functions. We get together to tour other nurseries and discuss issues of interest to us.
The word horticulturalist is seldom used. It is not our intention to throw anyone "out for poor work". How would that be carried out exactly? I think I know what you mean when you say "cowboy gardeners". These types usually don't hang around for long, they leave on their own.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 9:09PM
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