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Skaggs:Landscapers: Certification to be offered
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With the ongoing drought in Georgia and the current water restrictions, green industry businesses statewide are struggling to make ends meet.

In an effort to distinguish themselves from the rest, a select group of landscape professionals have undergone an intensive certification program known as the Georgia Certified Landscape Professional program.

The GCLP program is a voluntary testing program that acknowledges those in the landscape profession who have mastered a thorough knowledge and understanding of job skills required to be successful in the industry.

The test consists of four written components and nine outdoor hands-on components and requires two days to complete. Students who enroll to take the test are provided a more than 300-page study manual, instructions on how to study and prepare for the exam and access to a Web study site developed by the University of Georgia.

The GCLP program was developed and endorsed by the Georgia Green Industry Association, the Georgia Turfgrass Association, the Metro Atlanta Landscape and Turf Association and the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

The four written components of the test include: a multiple-choice test based on the study manual; a plan reading skill test that requires participants to read and interpret a landscape plan; common insect and disease identification; and a plant identification test that requires participants to identify 50 plant samples from a list of more than 270 provided.

The nine outdoor hands-on components include: planing layout, tree planting and staking, grading and drainage, proper pruning of selected trees and shrubs, sod installation, evaluation of a newly installed landscape, evaluation of landscape maintenance, proper pesticide application and operation of landscape power equipment.

The written and hands-on exams are offered at least twice a year. The written components are given at the annual conference of the Georgia Green Industry Association in January and at the Southern Nurserymen’s Convention in Atlanta in August. The hands-on components are given spring and fall at the Research and Education Gardens in Griffin.

For information about testing dates and locations and testing fees, contact the Georgia Center for Urban Agriculture at 770-233-6107 or visit