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PLNA e-News: Expanding Knowledge

Sustainable Landscape Certification Program No Longer Tied to PCH

Tuesday, December 18, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Cathy Corrigan
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When PLNA created the Sustainable Landscape Certification (SLC) program in 2013 one of the requirements to take the exam was that a person had to hold the Pennsylvania Certified Horticulturist (PCH) designation. That requirement has changed. Now, any person who designs, installs or maintains sustainable landscapes is eligible to obtain the certification without attaining the PCH certification.

Sustainable landscapes are one of the fastest growing areas in horticulture encompassing the use of native plants, green infrastructure and stormwater management to provide environmental benefits. Accordingly, there are many governmental regulations that come into play when installing sustainable landscapes and the municipal and consumer demand continues to grow exponentially to comply with those regulations.
It became apparent as more individuals require the background and knowledge to design, install and maintain sustainable landscapes that we needed to separate the programs. While the two programs definitely overlap in many areas, the plant base and use differs significantly enough that the two programs could be separated. The competency required by the PCH program includes plant knowledge that extends beyond the sustainable landscape needs. The SLC program tests knowledge specifically in the use and benefits of native plants in the sustainable landscape.

The SLC Study and Reference manual has not changed; what has changed is the exam. Twenty percent of the exam has been reformatted to include questions on the use and benefit of native plants in the sustainable landscape installation to assure a well-rounded knowledge in the basics of sustainable landscape practices.

So, now, if you are interested in the Sustainable Landscapes certification and are not a PCH you can apply for the program. Order a Sustainable Landscape Study manual online, study and then apply to take the exam. The SLC designation is gaining recognition across the state. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) recognizes the importance and validity of the SLC designation. Having an SLC on your company roster could benefit you greatly if you are applying to do any work on a DCNR related grant project such as installation and maintenance of riparian buffers or any municipal MS-4 (municipal separate storm sewer system) projects.

For more information about the NEW Sustainable Landscapes Certification, FAQs and to apply, click here or contact Cathy Corrigan at or 717.238.1673.

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