CUGE-SOIL-1002 Soils and Substrates for Green Infrastructure

Soil is an essential component of horticulture. In urban settings where natural soils are not readily available, horticulturists must ensure plants receive ample nutrients via artificial soil. This workshop covers the basics of soil issues pertaining to urban horticulture.

Participants will learn about the needs of plants, how natural soils function, soils for natural and skyrise greenery, designing artificial soils and how to perform simple soil tests.


To let participants learn more about urban soils for horticulture in order to manage green infrastructure better and sustainably.



Topic for the day

Day 1, AM

Introduction to soils

  • Understanding natural soil functions
  • The effect of urbanization
  • What do we mean by "good soil" in the urban context.
  • Understanding soil tests
  • Different plants and the types of soils required. (covers basics of plant type vs soil type)
  • Fertilisers and soil improvers
  • Establishment of proper soil profile for different types of landscapes
  • How to specify soils and soil improvement (soils for landscape development)
  • Constructed soils and rooting volumes for urban trees

Day 1, PM

Hands-on session

  • A look at urban soils and how does it affect plant growth
  • Conducting simple soil tests
  • Review

Day 2, AM

Soils for different scenarios

  • Soils for human traffic areas: pedestrian traffic vs sports fields
  • Containerised or confined rootzone planting
  • Exposure and anchorage
  • Adapting soil mix for different site conditions
  • Longevity of soil mixes (case studies)
  • Intensive green roof vs extensive green roof vs vertical gardens (depth, drainage, air filled porosity).
  • Feeding and fertilizers for container plants
  • Activity designing a soil mix and measuring air filled porosity

Day 2, PM

Field trip

  • Afternoon field trip to Casa Clementi
  • Q&A


  • Classroom lecture
  • Field study
  • Hands-on session
  • Horticulturists
  • Arborists
  • Landscape architects
  • Green roof installers and practitioners
  • Facilities managers


Mr Simon Leake is the managing director and principal consultant at Sydney Environmental & Soil Laboratory (SESL) which he founded in 1984. Offering consultancy and professional advice on horticultural and all soil science related industries, Simon has over 30 years of experience in soil issues. In 2014, Simon published an award winning book "Soils for Landscape Development", to share his expertise with practitioners in the landscape industry.

Simon also served as a member of Standards Australia CS/37, which developed and maintains Australia standards AS3743 "Potting Mixes" and AS4419 "Soils for Landscaping and Garden Use".


Professional Certification


ISA Certified Arborist


ISA Board Certified Master Arborist - Science


Certified Practising Horticulturist


Singapore Institute of Landscape Architects


*Awarded points may differ for different sessions.


Full fee (Inclusive of GST): $78.00

Fees include the provision of training, assessment materials, tools and equipment and refreshment.

Terms and conditions apply.

All information are correct as of posted date.

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