Professional Classes

University of Arizona faculty and local business professionals provide informative, research-based instruction designed to promote best landscape management practices for the urban Sonoran Desert. Workshops are for landscape professionals or representatives in areas such as:
  • Landscape Installation & Maintenance
  • Irrigation
  • Pest & Weed Control
  • Design/Architecture
  • Property Management
  • HOA/Neighborhood Associations
  • Nurseries
  • Groundskeeping for Schools/Parks, Multi-family, Commercial, Municipal
  • Students also welcome!
Program goals are to:
  • Provide sound understanding of the art and science underlying conventional landscaping
  • Foster best management practices for creating and maintaining healthy urban landscapes
  • Educate participants regarding the need for water-conservation
  • Encourage the use of water-efficient practices and technologies
Participation is FREE. Seating is limited. Registration is required. For more information, please visit the individual class pages. You may also contact the Pima County SmartScape Program office at 520.626.5161, Ext. 120, or email

Persons with a disability may request a reasonable accommodation, such as a sign language interpreter, by contacting the Pima County SmartScape Program at 520-626-5161, Ext. 120. Requests should be made as early as possible to allow time to arrange the accommodation.

Smartscape: A Training Program for Landscape Professionals™

SmartScape Espanol

Additional Professional Classes
Jan 7 Thu

Soils, Plants & Water – Provides basic understanding of the dynamic relationships of soils, plants, and water and is the foundation course of the Smartscape Series. Instruction focuses on soil texture and structure and how it affects water movement, infiltration rates and water holding capacity. Mechanisms that plants use to regulate water use are also discussed.

Instructor, Dr. Ursula Schuch – Professor and Cooperative Extension Specialist in the School of Plant Sciences at the University of Arizona



Jan 12 Tue

Landscape Irrigation Systems – Discusses various common irrigation systems and focuses on designing, installing, and programming/scheduling a drip irrigation system. Maintenance,troubleshooting and overview of smart controllers are also included.

Instructor: Steve Mallgren – Irrigation expert and local business owner




Jan 14 Thu

Landscape Water Management – Focuses on reducing water waste through efficient irrigation. Participants learn about irrigation scheduling, irrigation techniques and proper cultural practices. This class also discusses and reinforces factors taught throughout the series that influence plant water use in landscape.

Instructor: Dr. David Kopec – Extension Specialist, Turfgrass – The School of Plant Sciences


Jan 19 Tue

Desert Adapted Plants – This class identifies many of Tucson’s common desert landscape plants and provides basic discussion of their traits that make them suitable for the urban and suburban landscape. Specific characteristics such as flower color, seasonality, size, and hardiness, as well as maintenance specifications and other considerations are also presented.

Instructor: Greg Starr – Desert Plant Specialist, local nursery owner



Jan 21 Thu

Plant Disorders – Participants will learn what to look for to help diagnose common landscape plant diseases, disorders and deficiencies. Cultural controls are also discussed.

Instructor: Bill Haldeman – Senior Maintenance Supervisor, Fleet and Landscape, with Tucson Airport Authority


Jan 26 Tue

Landscape Design and Renovation – This class provides information about the principles and concepts of designing and installing a landscape. Special attention is given to Xeriscape landscaping and renovating an existing landscape from high-water use to low-water use.

Instructor: Roger Putney – Landscape Designer and Certified Nursery Professional



Jan 28 Thu

Maintaining Desert Adapted Plants – Divides desert-plant maintenance into two categories – pruning and fertilizing. All pruning instruction is based on International Society of Arboriculture guidelines and uses pictorial slides and actual samples to illustrate the speaker’s main points. The fertilizing portion of the workshop focuses on plant needs for macro- and micronutrients, determining correct fertilizers to use and calculating the appropriate quantities of fertilizers to purchase and apply.

Instructor: José Cano: Retired Maintenance Supervisor, Pima County Natural Resources Parks & Recreation who has nursery and aboriculture certifications



Feb 2 Tue

Plant Selection and Installation – Focus is on factors that should be considered when selecting installing landscape plants. Participants will learn how to choose healthy plants from a nursery and the proper way to install them.

Instructor: Marcus White – Horticulturist, local business owner



Feb 4 Thu

Integrated Pest Management – Discussion is about some of the important insects that affect landscape plants, along with Integrated Pest Management and cultural controls.

Instructor: Carl Olson –  Associate Curator, Lecturer, Assistant in the Extension Department of Entomology at the University of Arizona

Mar 24 Thu

The Spring Class specifically covers the hands-on catch can placement in the field, and the simple calculation of the actual in field precipitation rate. From there the students will learn how long to schedule run times on stand-alone field satellite stations for year round turf (Bermuda and Bermuda over-seeded with rye).

Participation is FREE. Seating is limited. Registration is required.

Please contact the Pima County SmartScape Program office at 520.626.5161

Persons with a disability may request a reasonable accommodation, such as a sign language interpreter, by contacting the Pima County SmartScape Program at 520-626-5161. Requests should be made as early as possible to allow time to arrange the accommodation.

Location: Karsten Turfgrass Research Center

2101 E. Roger Road (Head east on Roger Rd. from Campbell Ave. Continue east past the yellow drop down gate on the left, past the fenced off field and take the dirt road to the white building on the left).  Park in front of or across the street from the building.  Enter through the east doors.


David Kopec, PhD
The University of Arizona, Department of Plant Sciences

NEWS: UA Science Keeps Fairways Green With Less Water