Pitt Community College adds turfgrass diploma

This fall, Pitt Community College will add a Turfgrass diploma to its Horticulture Technology lineup for students interested in maintaining lawns, golf courses, parks and other recreational grounds.

Jerry Pittman, PCC’s Horticulture Technology curriculum coordinator, says the new training option will consist of 36 credits that cover such topics as pest management, soil science, turfgrass irrigation and turf equipment management. Students will learn how to select, establish, maintain and manage the right grasses for specific uses, he said, adding that they will also study warm and cool season grasses and how to control weeds, insects and diseases associated with each.

“We’ve designed our Turfgrass diploma for students who enjoy working outdoors and welcome the challenge of creating and maintaining beautiful surroundings,” Pittman said. “Once they master the skills our program teaches them, they can go on to become turfgrass managers who establish and maintain grasses used for recreational and ornamental purposes and to control erosion.”

Pittman says PCC is adding the new training to “meet the need from our green industry for individuals trained in this field, both locally and throughout eastern North Carolina.” To help establish the diploma, he said the college created an advisory board comprised of an all-star lineup of green industry representatives, including Brad Sutton, owner/operator of Eastern Turf Maintenance.

“Our industry is in dire need of qualified candidates who have had some type of formal education and training in turfgrass and horticulture science,” Sutton said. “We can easily place many candidates locally and nationally who have completed a program of this caliber.”

Sutton says he can envision Pitt’s turfgrass program “doing great things for Pitt County, eastern North Carolina and beyond.” He said he is pleased with the progress made toward establishing the diploma thus far and is looking forward to helping shape its future.

“I also look forward to helping you place PCC graduates into successful careers within the green industry,” Sutton added.

Pittman says Turfgrass graduates will be prepared to take the North Carolina Pesticide Applicator’s Examination and should qualify for employment in various positions associated with landscape operations, governmental agencies/parks, golf courses, sports complexes, highway vegetation, turf maintenance companies, and private and public gardens.

“Our graduates will have the skills to manage people and budgets and use their knowledge of plants and soils to produce high-quality, visually-appealing turfgrass areas,” he said.

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