Root Zone Management

Logo2017_Root Zone Management

Note: The registration period for the summer 2019 course has passed. To be informed by e-mail when the next enrollment period is open, please fill out this form

Interested people can enroll in the winter 2019-2020 course starting November 1, 2019. 

This 2.5-hour class consists of pre-recorded lectures about the fundamental concepts about irrigation water, media, and their effects on plant nutrition. The course covers the latest practical information on root zone management techniques for ornamental crops in a greenhouse.

The course is instructed by Heidi Lindberg, Greenhouse and Nursery Extension Educator with MSU Extension. Dr. Kristin Getter (Academic Specialist, MSU) designed, authored, and updated the course, which was adapted and updated from the original College of Knowledge class developed by Dr. John Biernbaum (Professor, MSU) and later revised by Dr. Dean Krauskopf (retired Educator, MSU Extension).

Students enrolled in this self-paced course will take a pre-test and a final exam to gauge their progress on the topics of the course. Self-assessment quizzes will engage students with the material throughout the course.

Course Content

The 2.5-hours of pre-recorded lecture are divided into three units:

  • Unit 1: Irrigation Water
  • Unit 2: Media
  • Unit 3: Nutrition

Unit 1 covers topics about irrigation water including water sources, water quality, water treatment, and irrigation timing and methodology. Unit 2 discusses the physical and chemical properties of media as well as substrate components and amendments. The third unit covers the essential elements for plant nutrition, how to select a fertilizer, and how to monitor nutrition of greenhouse crops.

Preview: View a preview of the course here.

Cost: The cost is $129 per person.

Course Offerings: This course is offered twice a year (summer and winter).

  • Summer course:
    • Registration period: May
    • Course available to students: June-August
  • Winter course:
    • Registration period: November
    • Course available to students: December-February

Win a $75 gift card! The individuals have paid for the course, completed the pre-test, final exam, and the post-course evaluation, will be entered into a raffle for a $75 gift card! (Available to U.S. residents only)

Financial Need Scholarships: There are three scholarships available for those that are interested in the course but do not currently have the financial means to take it. Greenhouse growers interested in the scholarship will be able to apply for it upon registering by writing a short paragraph about why you feel you should be awarded this scholarship and how you plan to use the information you learn in your business or professional endeavors. The applicants and winners will be kept confidential. The cost of the course will be $39.99 for scholarship winners. Scholarship winners will be notified after the enrollment period has passed.

Registration Instructions:

  • Non-MSU Staff/Students: Follow the instructions below to register for this course if you are not a Michigan State University staff member or student:
  1. Create your MSU Community ID and Password: Community ID Instructions: Create Your AccountWatch a video on how to create your Community ID. 
  2. Login to the registration system with your Community ID and PasswordFloriculture Root Zone Management
  3. Follow the instructions to register and pay for the course. Upon registration you will receive a receipt and instructions for accessing the course.


To Access Your Online Course:

After you have successfully registered for the course:

  1. Go to
  2. In the NetID field
    1. Non-MSU Staff: Enter your Community ID (your email address).
    2. MSU Staff: Enter your MSU NetID.
  3. Enter your password.
  4. You will be logged into D2L. Click on the Floriculture Root Zone Management course title to get started.

If you have any technical problems please call the Michigan State University Help Desk. They are available 24/7 at or 1-800-500-1554.


FAQ on Signing Up and Accessing Your Course

  1. What is my username/NETID?

Your username (or NET ID) is the email address you used to create your account during registration (you use the same email address/password for      registering and for taking the course).

  1. What URL do I go to for logging into the course?

Go to: You will see the Michigan State University at the top of the page.

  1. I received a “not authenticated” response when trying to login – what do I do?

A “not authenticated” message is typically an issue with a password not being entered correctly. To reset your password at any time go to: select the option for Forgot Password. You will receive an email from a sender called “Community ID” with a link to reset your password.

  1. I forgot my password – where can I reset it?

To reset your password at any time go to: select the option for Forgot Password. You will receive an email from a sender called “Community ID” with a link to reset your password. 

  1. Who can I call for technical support?

The Michigan State University Help Desk. They are available 24/7 at reachout@msu.eduor 1-800-500-1554. Tell them you are logging into an MSU Extension online course with an MSU Community ID.

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