Urban Forestry Curriculum

School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences

Accepting Applications for September 2023

Credential: Ontario College Certificate ( 2 semesters )
Classes begin:
September 05, 2023
Offered at:
Frost Campus
Program code:
Tuition & Ancillary Fees:
$2,222.43 per semester*
$8,502.70 per semester*
* Tuition and fees subject to change.

Vocational Learning Outcomes

  • Identify and name common trees and shrub species by their physical characteristics and use of botanic classification.
  • Apply principles of tree anatomy and physiology to tree health and its management.
  • Follow direction in a given urban tree plan, such as tree selection, planting techniques and maintenance programs.
  • Make informed decisions using knowledge of the environmental , health social and economic benefits of maintaining urban forests.
  • Detect and identify pests, diseases and tree disorders.
  • Recommend and apply integrated treatments and promote preventative care to ensure healthy trees.
  • Safely operate, maintain and troubleshoot a range of standards equipment including clearing chainsaws, wood chippers and stumpers as well as specialty equipment such as the aerial trim lift.
  • Provide safe ground support for climbers using industry recognized techniques and equipment.
  • Assist in the safe pruning and removal of trees using recognized roping, rigging, topping and speed lining procedures.
  • Implement and enforce municipal by-laws that protect city owned trees.
  • Conform to government regulations in the safe application, handling storage and disposal of pesticides in landscapes operations.
  • Follow basic maintenance procedures for turf management in an urban environment.
  • Follow basic procedures in greenhouse and park horticultural practice.
  • Work safely and effectively as a team member under site conditions.

Courses and Descriptions

Semester 1

APST 154
Units/ Hours: 30

This course is designed to equip students with the skills needed for their work search and to develop and enhance career planning skills. Students will learn how to write competitive job search documents, interview with confidence, and will develop and use their career portfolio as a tool to identify and incorporate career goals into the job search process.

Units/ Hours: 60

This course deals with the identification of approximately 125 trees and shrubs found in urban settings in Ontario. Tree features including leaves, twigs, bark and fruits are studied. The accuracy level for the identification tests is 80 per cent. The lecture series includes: the anatomy and physiology of leaves, stems, roots and flowers, fruit adaptations for seed dispersal and forest geography. The cultural requirements of the major urban tree species are studied.

Units/ Hours: 45

Students of the Forestry, Arboriculture and Urban Forestry Certificate/Technician programs possess an excellent foundation in the 'normal growth' of trees. This course introduces students to the study of insects and diseases of forest and urban trees. Identification, classification, and control measures of commercially important insects, pathogens and diseases are examined. The emphasis is on the pests of forest and urban trees and a collection of such specimens.

Units/ Hours: 90

Students are instructed in the safe operation and maintenance of equipment associated with the arboriculture and utility industries. Chainsaw operation and tree felling techniques are competency-based standards set out by the Professional Chainsaw Operation guidelines by Workplace Safety North. The techniques introduced in this course are transferable to other courses within the program. Students will be required to purchase items of personal protective equipment (safety glasses, safety boots, chainsaw pants, safety gloves, hard hat, and hearing protection) as recommended, before the course begins.

Units/ Hours: 90

Tree health management focuses on a thoughtful, holistic approach to successfully incorporating trees into the urban environment. Learning proper planning, planting and establishment strategies, students will focus on prevention of tree health problems. Students will develop the ability to diagnose damaging agents and prescribe required control or management measures using Integrated Pest Management and other industry mitigation techniques to maintain and establish healthy urban ecosystems. The economic and social impacts of trees in the landscape will also be examined to aid in decision making processes.

Units/ Hours: 45

All graduates of diploma programs require general education credits. These courses allow you to explore issues of societal concern by looking at the history, theory and contemporary applications of those issues.

Your program has designated some required general education courses. In addition, you have the opportunity to choose from a list of electives each semester.

Many of these courses and some other general education courses are also available through evening classes, by distance education, or on-line. See our Part-Time Studies Calendar for these opportunities.

You may already possess general education equivalencies from other colleges or universities. Please see the General Education Co-ordinators at the Peterborough and Lindsay locations for possible exemptions.

Semester 2

Units/ Hours: 90

Arboriculture Skills and Techniques provides classroom and hands on experience in many aspects of tree work from a ground-person's perspective. The focus is on preparing ground workers with the skills and knowledge to provide safe and efficient support to their crew, through in-depth understanding of the tools, equipment and techniques used for aerial work. Classes will provide opportunities to examine tree operations through team work.

BUSN 145
Units/ Hours: 45

The success of any business relies on sound decision making and a thorough understanding of business operations. This course acquaints students with the processes involved in both the establishment and operation of a small business in the resource management and outdoor service sectors from the ground up. Students will explore all facets of a successful business including; operational, legal and administrative aspects.

Units/ Hours: 80

This course allows students the opportunity to obtain arboriculture-related experience through a two-week placement with an organization selected by the student and approved by the course instructor. It provides students with the opportunity to apply existing knowledge and skills either through observation or application. This placement must be unpaid. Students must complete and return to the program coordinator the appropriate WSIB and Field Placement registration forms, prior to the beginning of the placement. Upon completion of the placement, students must have submit both the 'Student' and 'Employer's' reports.

Units/ Hours: 45

This course introduces the students to tree anatomy, tree physiology, urban soil conditions, tree installation and the impact of construction on tree health. Field trips deal with tree selection, tree pruning, tree reaction to wounding and an introduction to hazard tree assessment.

Units/ Hours: 45

This course deals with woody plant propagation within greenhouse and bare-root nurseries for both natural and urban landscapes as well as for forest management. This course also addresses preservation and care of horticultural plants for human well-being in urban settings. Topics include tree seed processing, stratification, germination, seedling culture, cutting propagation, nursery soils, fertilizers, irrigation, and quality control. Special emphasis will be placed on plant selection, plant growth and responses, horticultural practices, preventative maintenance, nursery stock handling, plant-to-soil relationships, and overall seedling physiology.