UNL Offers New Turfgrass and Landscape Management Major

UNL Offers New Turfgrass and Landscape Management Major

May 23, 2008

A new turfgrass and landscape management major at UNL will offer students more insight into the two disciplines.

The major, open to students this fall, offers two areas of study — landscape management or turfgrass management. However, students learn specifics about each area so when they enter the workforce they'll be equipped with the skills necessary to do both.

"In most cases, students come out well-trained in one area or the other and scramble to learn the other part," said Bob Shearman, UNL turfgrass specialist. The new major will allow students to "hit the ground running in a job situation."

Housed in UNL's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the turfgrass and landscape management major gives students the opportunity to see how the other students think — some may think landscape first, but don't think of the impact landscape plans may have on the turf, said Anne Streich, UNL horticulture extension educator and recruitment coordinator in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture.

For example, a certain tree might fit well into landscape plans, but its impact to the turf due to dense shade could be a problem. Students will be in classes together and interact with each other, Streich said.

"Students will be able to look at everything for choice of species, management practices and understand the interaction between all plant types," said Kim Todd, UNL landscape horticulture specialist.

Most large nurseries not only cater to plants, but have a landscape design division and installation and may or may not do turf, Todd said.

"This really gets students to think about the whole landscape; it's a whole picture opposed to one that is isolated," she said.

In the turfgrass and landscape industry, there are more positions open than there are graduating students, Shearman said.

Careers that will benefit from this major are golf course superintendents, grounds managers, sales people, seed and chemical dealers, sod producers, landscape management company owners, contractors or a botanical garden manager, just to name a few, Streich said. For example, a golf course superintendent's main concern is turfgrass, but knowledge about landscape plants, such as trees, shrubs and flowers is still important.

Currently CASNR offers a turfgrass option and a landscape option, but not a major. The two options will go away this fall and be replaced by the turfgrass and landscape management major. Turfgrass students will have to take more landscape classes and landscape management students more turf-related classes than under the previous options.

"Both sides understand what each specific area of the green industry needs, everybody will benefit in the end," said Todd.

In both options, business and personnel management classes are a requirement, adding 12 business credit hours. An internship also is required, and since the department has contacts all across the U.S. and even other countries, students can go to different areas and learn more about plants and turf in those areas too.

"It really is a major where a student can stay in Nebraska following graduation or move somewhere else. The opportunities are endless," Streich said.

Many scholarships are available to students. For more information about the new major, contact Streich at (402) 472-1640 or astreich2@unl.edu.

CASNR is part of the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Sandi Alswager Karstens
IANR News Service