Online Soil Science, Soil Fertility, and Turf Production Training for Urban Nutrient Management Certification

This online course was developed by Virginia Tech faculty and Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation staff.  The course covers basic soil science, soil fertility, organic management of nutrients, and turf and horticultural nutrient needs.  Individuals without previous training in these subjects will find this course very helpful in understanding how nutrients should be applied, how they interact and behave when applied to plants and soil, and how to apply these nutrients in an efficient way to support healthy plant growth while protecting the water quality and the environment.  The course highlights information from the Urban Nutrient Handbook and the Virginia Nutrient Management Standards and Criteria 2014The course is intended to help individuals in preparing for the Virginia Nutrient Management Certification exam in Turf and Landscape.  For more information, please visit the Department of Conservation website (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. about our Nutrient Management program.

This course is presented by Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation




This course is provided in a series of self-paced modules that correspond to chapters in the Urban Nutrient Management Handbook Each module contains one or more video presentations, a reading assignment, links to additional resources, and a required quiz to test your knowledge of the material presented.  The titles and presenters for each module are as follows: 

  • Chapter 1:  The Objectives of Turf and Landscape Nutrient Management - Mr. Tim Sexton
  • Chapter 2:  General Soil Science Principles - Dr. Lee Daniels
  • Chapter 3:  Managing Urban Soils - Dr. Lee Daniels
  • Chapter 4:  Basic Soil Fertility - Dr. Greg Evanylo
  • Chapter 5:  Soil Sampling and Nutrient Testing - Dr. Rory Maguire
  • Chapter 6:  Mid-Atlantic Turfgrasses and Their Management - Dr. Mike Goatley
  • Chapter 7:  The Ornamental Landscape - Dr. Laurie Fox
  • Chapter 8:  Fertilizer and Lime Sources for Turf and Landscapes - Dr. Mike Goatley
  • Chapter 9:  Organic and Inorganic Soil Amendments - Dr. Greg Evanylo
  • Chapter 11:  Soil-Water Budgets and Irrigation Sources and Timing - Mr. Tim Sexton
  • Chapter 12:  Principles of Stormwater Management for Reducing Nutrients From Urban Landscaped Areas - Dr. David Sample


Learner Outcomes


After successfully completing all modules, the Practical Field Application Exercise will unlock. This capstone assignment will allow you to demonstrate your understanding of urban nutrient management.  Using real-world data, you will be asked to make nutrient management recommendations for the situation presented. 

Complete all model requirements and the Practical Field Application Exercise before the course end date to receive a certificate of completion from the course manager.

Individuals who successful complete the online course meet the requirements to enroll in VDCR's in-person Turf and Landscape Plan Writing School. offered periodically throughout the year. Hands-on training covers topics presented in Chapter Chapter 10:  Equipment Calibration and Fertilizer Application Methods and Chapter 13: Turf and Landscape Nutrient Management Planning of the Urban Nutrient Handbook.  Completing the online course, in-person training, and passing the Virginia Nutrient Management Certification exam in Turf and Landscape leads to nutrient management certification in the turf and landscape category.



In taking this course, it is understood that the results of the completion of this course and registration information will be shared with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Nutrient Management Program staff.

Contact Urban Nutrient Management Coordinator Nick Yakish if you have any questions about this course, certification, or plan-writing.

Nick Yakish, Urban Nutrient Management Coordinator
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
600 E. Main St., 24th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219
Office: 804-371-7489
Cell: 804-389-5439


Thank you for your interest in this course. Unfortunately, the course you have selected is currently not open for enrollment or open for enrollment through another website.

If registering for a conference, please see the conference website in the description to the left or directly above this message.

Required fields are indicated by .