Unit of competency details

AHCPCM503A - Specify plants for landscapes (Release 1)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
1 1 (this release)Current 10/Jun/2011

Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to AHCPCM503 - Specify plants for landscapesThis unit is equivalent to AHCPCM503A Specify plants for landscapes. 26/Jun/2016

Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050301 Horticulture  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050301 Horticulture  04/Nov/2011 
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Modification History

Not Applicable

Unit Descriptor

Unit descriptor 

This unit covers specifying plants for landscapes and defines the standard required to inspect and identify an extensive range of plants; determine the suitability of a plant for a purpose; evaluate and document the selection of plants; specification of replacement plantings; monitor and record quality control of selections; document a report of the identification, evaluation and specification process.

Application of the Unit

Application of the unit 

This unit applies to the selection and specification of landscape plants in a range of industries to provide information and advice to a client or organisation in specialist roles within horticulture and applies in addition to the existing standards referencing plant selection in a general application across the industry sectors. This standard applies in wide application to urban and regional areas and in local government and legal contexts in the specification of plants in residential, commercial public open spaces and amenity areas.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not Applicable


Prerequisite units 

Employability Skills Information

Employability skills 

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Not Applicable

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Develop a client brief  

1.1. Client is consulted and a brief developed and agreed.

2. Determine the suitability of a plant for a purpose.

2.1. Site inspection is undertaken according to the client brief and legislative and regulatory requirements.

2.2. Planting area dimensions are estimated for the plant species or cultivar.

2.3. Species and cultivar selection is appropriate to the available dimensions of the aspect and the site.

2.4. Soil volume is proportioned to the size of plant in consideration.

2.5. Environmental conditions are considered and applied to the functional characteristics of the plant.

2.6. The existing soil is appraised for suitability as a growth medium appropriate to the plant species or cultivar.

2.7. Functional life expectancy of site and plantings is determined.

2.8. The selection of the plant is evaluated and the rationale for plant selection is documented.

3. Select plants

3.1. Plants are selected as per the client brief and their suitability for the intended purpose.

3.2. Plant function is determined for the precise location within the plan.

3.3. Recommendations are made for soil improvements in accordance with the plant species selected.

3.4. Species and cultivars are matched appropriately to the determined selection criteria for species specific characteristics.

3.5. Plant species or cultivars for replacement or new plantings are recommended.

3.6. Plant selections, selection criteria and notes on quality expectations are documented as specifications.

4. Specify plants

4.1. Criteria determined for size of stock selection are incorporated to the specifications.

4.2. Selection criteria for mature plants are evaluated against capability and availability of transplanted plants.

4.3. Final selections are assessed against the specified soil, site location and client brief and confirmed.

4.4. Selected plants are monitored for quality and quantities according to the specifications.

4.5. Materials, soils and growing media are monitored for quality according to the specifications.

4.6. Records of quality checks on delivered plants and product are documented.

5. Correlate and present a report

5.1. A report of the process is documented and the correlated records are incorporated.

5.2. The client or organisation is presented with the report.

Required Skills and Knowledge


This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • identify and select an extensive range of plants common to the region
  • select and appraise a wide range of soils and growing media
  • conduct site inspections and site assessments
  • evaluate plant selections
  • use comparative techniques
  • research multiple sources of reference material and taxonomic keys
  • compile a database of plant specimens and characteristics
  • monitor quality
  • apply quality controls
  • use literacy skills to fulfil job roles as required by the organisation. The level of skill may range from reading and understanding documentation to completion of written reports
  • use oral communication skills/language competence to fulfil the job role as specified by the organisation including questioning, active listening, asking for clarification, negotiating solutions and responding to a range of views
  • use numeracy skills to estimate, calculate and record complex workplace measures
  • use interpersonal skills to work with others and relate to people from a range of cultural, social and religious backgrounds and with a range of physical and mental abilities.

Required knowledge 

  • plant identification techniques
  • ethnobotany, plant morphology, physiology, taxonomy and nomenclature
  • soil characteristics particularly in relation to the local region
  • soils appraisal techniques
  • methods of data capture
  • surface hydrology
  • problem-solving techniques
  • methods of quality control
  • symptoms of plant pests and diseases
  • basic physiology and life cycle of pests and diseases
  • AS4419-2003 and AS4454-2003
  • specific legislation and regulations for horticulture and development
  • relevant Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation and regulations.

Evidence Guide


The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

The evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit must be relevant to workplace operations and satisfy holistically all of the requirements of the performance criteria and required skills and knowledge and include achievement of the following:

  • inspect and identify an extensive range of plants
  • determine the suitability of a plant for a purpose
  • evaluate and document the selection of plants
  • specification of replacement plant plantings
  • monitor and record quality control of selections
  • document a report of the identification, evaluation and specification process.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Access to a digital camera and an easy to use database is recommended for the delivery of this standard. Competency requires the application of work practices under work conditions. Selection and use of resources for some worksites may differ due to the regional or enterprise circumstances.

Range Statement


The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole.

Plants may include:

  • the range of all plant species and cultivars.

Sources of knowledge may include:

  • reference books
  • photo collections
  • field guides
  • networking
  • internet
  • identified specimens
  • software programs
  • collaboration
  • electronic storage
  • taxonomic keys
  • drawings
  • herbarium collections
  • colleagues
  • botanical gardens
  • other readily available sources.

Unit Sector(s)

Unit sector 


Co-requisite units

Co-requisite units 

Competency field

Competency field 

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