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Contact Information:
Department of
Plant Sciences and Entomology
9 E. Alumni Ave, Woodward Hall,
University of Rhode Island
Kingston, RI 02881 - 0816.
Phone: (401) 874-2791.
Fax: (401) 874-2494.

Undergraduate Programs

Environmental Horticulture and Turfgrass Management: The major in environmental horticulture and turfgrass management prepares undergraduate students for professional careers in both the public and private sectors. Flexible course requirements allow students to develop individual areas of concentration and prepare for a variety of positions after graduation. In addition, the program provides a solid background for graduate study in several science and policy disciplines.

Freshmen: Introductory courses in horticulture, biology, landscape architecture, mathematics and liberal arts.

Sophomores: Pre-professional and concentration courses in horticulture, prerequisites in arts and sciences.

Juniors: Concentration courses and supporting electives.

Seniors: Advanced concentration studies and supporting electives.

Environmental Horticulture and Turfgrass Management focuses on the sustainable culture and use of plants to enhance the human environment. Graduates of this program pursue careers as:

Golf course superintendent Plant propagator
Horticulturist Nursery owners or operator
Landscape contractor Lawn service firm manager
Park systems or arboretum manager Technical representative
Garden centers and floral shop proprietor Vegetable or fruit grower

Graduates may also enter graduate school for careers in research and education.

This program of study fulfills certification requirements for the American Society of Agronomy, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, as well as various other certifications in horticulture and arboriculture. The major comprises 120 credits, including 25 credits of pre-professional courses, 50 credits in concentration and supporting courses, and 6 internship credits.

Visit admissions to learn more about URI and how to apply.

Undergraduate Courses

ENT286 (=BIO286) Humans, Insects, and Disease (3) Role of insects, ticks, and mites as vectors and as direct agents of diseases in humans; factors affecting the spread of these diseases and their role in our cultural development. (Lec. 3) Not for major credit for B.S. in biological sciences. Instructor: LeBrun. Spring, annual. (2004 syllabus)

ENT385 (=BIO381) Introductory Entomology (3) Introduction to the diverse components of entomology, emphasizing basic principles of insect morphology, physiology, behavior, and ecology. Current topics in insect biodiversity and management strategies. (Lec. 3) Pre: BIO104A or 112 or 102 and BIO 104B or 113 or 101, or equivalent. Instructor: LeBrun. Fall, annual. (2004 syllabus)

ENT386 (=BIO382) Introductory Entomology Laboratory (1) Insect structure, function, and systematics with field studies in ecology, survey, and collection of beneficial and pest insects in their natural environment. (Lab. 3) Pre: 385 or concurrent enrollment in 385. Instructor: LeBrun. Fall, annual.

ENT387 Insects of Turf and Ornamentals (3) Biology, ecology, and management of insects affecting turfgrasses, trees, and ornamental plants. (Lab. 3) Pre: PLS 200 or permission of instructor. Instructor: Alm. Fall, annual.

ENT390 (=AVS390) Wildlife and Human Disease (3)Introduction to the important diseases of humans carried by wildlife, including surveillance, epidemiology, transmission, public health impact, and prevention. Interdisciplinary approach with emphasis on problem solving using real-life examples. (Lec. 3) Pre: BIO 104B or 113 or 101; BIO 262 or ENT 385 or equivalent. Instructor: Mather. Alternate Fall (next 2004).

PLS101 Freshman Inquiry into Plant Sciences (1) Introduction for freshmen to the opportunities, careers, research activities, applied outreach, and educational programs in the Department of Plant Sciences. Interact weekly with faculty. Explore hands-on modules. (Lec. 1) S/U credit. Instructor: Staff. Fall, annual.

PLS150 Plant Biology for Gardeners (3) Fundamentals of plant biology, emphasizing the structure, physiology, and ecology of vascular plants common to gardens and landscaped environments. (Lec. 3) Instructor: Gordon. Fall, annual.

PLS190 Issues in Biotechnology (3) Introduction to modern biotechnologyy in medical, pharmaceutical, forensic, agricultrual, marine, and environmental applications. Consideration of ethical, environmental, health, and social issues. Instructor: 2004, TBA. Fall, annual.

PLS200 Introduction to Plant Protection (4) Basic study of weeds, insects, and disease agents, and the problems they cause. Recognition of important plant pests and application of integrated cultural, chemical, and biological pest management procedures. (Lec. 4) Pre: BIO 104A or 112 or 102, or permission of instructor. Instructor: Englander. Fall, annual.

PLS210 Plant Protection Practicum (2) Introduction to practical aspects of plant protection, concentrating on field diagnostic techniques and development of analytical and observation skills. Diagnostics are primarily an interactive field activity, supplemented by microscopy, report writing, and oral presentations. (Practicum) Pre: prior or concurrent enrollment in 200 or permission of instructor. Instructor: Englander. Fall, annual.

PLS215 (formerly 405) Propagation of Plant Materials (3) Theoretical and practical study of propagation including grafting, budding, cuttage, and seedage. (Lec. 2, Lab. 2) Instructor: Maynard. Alternate Spring (next 2004) (2004 Syllabus)

PLS222 Ecology of the Home Landscape (3) Basics of home gardening with minimal environmental impact including maintenance of the trees, shrubs, lawns, flowers, vegetables, native and invasive plants, composting, water quality, and wildlife and pest management. (Lec. 2, Lab. 2) Instructor: Casagrande. Spring, annual.

PLS233 Floral Art (3) Theory and practice in the art of flower and plant arrangement for the home, show, and special occasions. History, elements, and principles of design and color. (Lec. 1, Lab. 4) Instructor: Siligato. Both semesters (College of Continuing Education)

PLS250 Plant Breeding and Genetics (4) Introduction to the general principles of plant breeding, with emphasis on the application of genetic principles in plant improvement strategies. (Lec. 3, Lab. 2) Pre: BIO112 or 102. Instructor: TBA. Spring, annual (not offered in 2004. TBA for 2005).

PLS255 Horticultural Plant Physiology (3) Fundamental concepts underlying life functions in plants and their horticultural implications and relevancy. Emphasis on energy relations and material transport. Special consideration of photosynthesis, water use, nitrogen utilization, dormancy, and photomorphogenesis. (Lec. 3) Pre: BIO102, PLS150. Instructor: Taylorson. Spring, annual. [ Syllabus Fall-2009 ]

PLS301 Nursery Crop Production and Management (3) Foundation of nursery management and woody plant production practices. History and organization of the nursery industry, land selection and management, plant culture, growing structures and equipment, and recent innovations. (Lec. 2, Lab. 2) Pre: BIO112 or 102 and PLS205 or permission of instructor. Instructor: Maynard. Alternate Spring (next 2005).

PLS305 Population, Environment, and Plant Biology II (4) Solving problems related to the interaction of population growth, environment, cell behavior, and plant productivity, from the perspective of competitive evolution. (Lec. 3, Lab. 2) Pre: 205 or permission of instructor. Instructor: TBA. Not offered at this time. Check later.

PLS306 Landscape Management and Arboriculture (3) culture of new and established trees, shrubs, and vines in the landscape. Practical exposure to planting, pruning, fertilization, and plant protection. Prepares the student for Arborist's Certification Examination. (Lec. 2, Lab. 2) Pre: BIO112 or 102 or permission of instructor. Instructor: Maynard. Fall, annual.

PLS320 Landscape Design (3) Examination of landscape design principles and practices including introduction to landscape graphics, preliminary design, and planting design. (Lec. 3) Pre: LAR201 or permission of instructor. Not open to landscape architecture majors. Instructor: TBA. Fall, annual (College of Continuing Education).

PLS322 Power Units (3) Principles of operation, maintenance, and adjustment of power units including gasoline and diesel engines and electric motors. Emphasis on tractors and other power units important in farm, nursery, greenhouse, and grounds maintenance operations. (Lec. 2, Lab. 2) In alternate years. Instructor: Sawyer. Alternate Spring (next 2004)

PLS324 Vegetable Crops (4) Study of vegetable crops including the botany and systematics of the vegetables commonly grown in the United States. Includes organic and conventional production techniques for home gardeners and market farmers. (Lec. 3, Lab. 2) Pre: 150 or BIO 102 or permission of instructor. [ Syllabus ]

PLS331 Floriculture and Greenhouse Management (3) The greenhouse environment and its relation to the culture of specific plants. Principles governing the production and culture of plants under controlled temperature, humidity, light, and modified atmospheres. Greenhouse construction and environmental control. (Lec. 3) Pre: PLS205 or permission of instructor. Instructor: Maynard. Alternate Spring (next 2004). (2004 Syllabus)

PLS332 (or BIO332) Plant Pathology: Introduction to Plant Diseases Nature, cause, and control of plant diseases. Use of basic techniques for identification of major types of plant diseases and their causal agents. (Lec. 4) Pre: BIO102 or permission of instructor. Instructor: Englander. Spring, annual.

PLS335 Commercial Floral Design and Flower Shop Practices (3) Advanced floral design including wedding, funeral, church, and holiday arrangements. Flower shop practices, buying, selling, and handling cut flowers and potted plants. (Lec. 1, Lab. 4) Pre: PLS233 or permission of instructor. Instructor: Siligato. Spring, annual (College of Continuing Education)

PLS341 Introduction to Turf Management (3) Fundamental aspects of turfgrass science including identification, propagation, fertilization, pest control, and other soil-plant relationships. (Lec. 2, Lab. 2) Pre: PLS205 and NRS212. Instructor: Sullivan. Fall, annual.

PLS350 Herbacious Garden Plants (3) Identification and use of annnual and perennial berbaceous ornamental plants in the landscape. Emphasis on sustainable landscaping and the use of native plants. (Lec. 2, Lab. 2) Pre: PLS150 or permission of instructor. Instructor: Maynard. Fall, annual.

PLS352 (=ASP352) General Genetics (3) Introduction to genetic principles and concepts leading to an understanding of genes, heredity and the expression of inherited variation. Applications and implications of these concepts to animals, plants, fungi, and bacteria are discussed. (Lec. 3) Pre: BIO104A or 104B, or 112 or 113 or 101 or 102. Not open to students with credit in BIO352. Instructor: Chandlee. Fall, annual.

PLS353 (or LAR353) Landscape Plants—I Identification and description under fall conditions, classification and adaptation of the important trees and shrubs including broadleaf evergreens and their value in ornamental plantings. (Lec. 1, Lab. 4) Pre: BIO104A or 112 or 102. Instructor: Simeoni. Fall, annual.

PLS354 (or LAR354) Landscape Plants—II Identification and description under winter and spring conditions; classification and adpatation of the coniferous evergreens, vines, and groundcovers and their value in ornamental plantings. (Lec. 2, Lab. 2) Pre: PLS353. Instructor: Gordon. Spring, annual.

PLS355 (or ASP355) Genetics Laboratory (2) Basic principles and concepts of genetics demonstrated with microorganisms, plants, and animals. (Lab. 4) Pre: credit or concurrent enrollment in 352 or BIO 352. Not open to students with credit in BIO454. Instructor: Chandlee. Fall, annual.

PLS361 Weed Science (3) Ecological and cultural aspects of weed problems, physiology of herbicide action, selected problems in weed control and plant identification. (Lec. 2, Lab. 2) Pre: NRS 212, organic chemistry recommended. Instructor: Sullivan. Alternate Spring (next 2005).

PLS390 Irrigation Technology (3) A study of the science and technology of obtaining, applying, and managing water as it relates to the culture of field, forage, vegetable, turf, and ornamental crops. (Lec. 2, Lab. 2) Service learning. Pre: NRS 212 and MTH 111. Instructor: Sullivan. Alternate Spring (next 2006).

PLS393, 394 Plant Protection Clinic (3 each) Practical experience in plant pest detection and identification, pest management techniques and equipment. (Lec. 1, Lab. 4) Pre: ENT385, PLS332 or 440, and permission of instructor. Instructor: Wallace. Offered each semester by arrangement.

PLS399 Plant Sciences Internship (1-6) Directed work experience programs at nurseries, turf farms, greenhouses, plant breeding farms, arboreta, research farms, or laboratories. (Practicum) Pre: 150 and permission of instructor. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits. S/U credit.

PLS401, 402 Plant Sciences Seminar (1 each) Presentations and discussions of current topics of concern to producers and consumers of plants and plant products, including plant protection. Coordinator: Sullivan. Offered each semester.

PLS406 Senior Thesis Research (3-6) Seniors conduct research approved by a faculty mentor. Research results are written and orally presented to a group of faculty for a grade. (Independent Study) Pre: permission of instructor. May be repeated for up to 6 credits. Not for graduate credit.

PLS436 Floriculture and Greenhouse Crop Production (4) Status of floriculture industry and commercial production of greenhouse crops including scheduling, marketing, and postharvest handling. Student project required. (Lec. 3, Lab. 2) Pre: 331. Instructor: TBA . Alternate Spring (next 2005)

PLS440 Diseases of Turfgrasses, Trees, Shrubs, and Ornamental Shrubs (3) Disease diagnosis, epidemiology, and control measures pertinent to these categories of plants. (Lec. 3) Pre: 332 or equivalent or permission of instructor. Instructor: Mitkowski. Alternate Fall, annual. (next 2005}

PLS441 Plant Disease Laboratory (1) Laboratory and field diagnosis of turf diseases and diseases of trees and ornamental shrubs. (Lab. 2) Pre: concurrent enrollment in 440. Instructor: Mitkowski. Alternate Fall (next 2004).

PLS442 Advanced Turf Management (3) Establishment and maintenance practices for specialty turfgrass areas (golf courses, lawn tennis courts, bowling greens, athletic fields, public parks, industrial and institutional grounds, airports, roadsides). Design and construction specifications, and construction and maintenance budgets. (Lec. 3) Pre: PLS341 or equivalent. Instructor: Mitkowski. Spring, annual. (2004 syllabus)

PLS452(or BCH452) Advanced Topics in Genetics (3) More detailed treatment of topics introduced in the general genetics course (352) including aspects of transmission genetics, molecular genetics, cytogenetics, biotechnology, developmental genetics, and the impact of genetics on society. (Lec. 3) Pre: PLS(=AFS, BCH,BIO)352. Instructor: Chandlee. Spring, annual.

PLS463 Principles of Plant Disease Control (3) The extent and impact of plant disease loss. Disease-causing agents, the nature of disease epidemics, disease forecasting, and strategies for plant disease control. (Lec. 3) Pre: PLS332 or permission of instructor. Alternate Spring. (Next Spring 2005)

PLS471 Plant Improvement—I (4) Plant cell and tissue culture methodologies particularly as they relate to the development and selection of improved plant varieties through the modern approaches of plant biotechnology. (Lec. 3) Pre: PLS205 and 352 or BIO 352. Instructor: Mitkowski. Alternate Fall (next 2005)

PLS475 (or NRS 475) Plant Nutrition and Soil Fertility (4) The plant-soil system. Availability and mobility of mineral nutrients in soil and their uptake, distribution, and function in plants. Plant energy relations and organic nutrition. Laboratory: hydroponic plant culture, ion interactions, radioisotopes, and deficiency symptoms. (Lec. 3, Lab. 2) Pre: 205, NRS 212, BIO 112 or 102, and organic chemistry. Instructor: TBA. Alternate Fall (next 2005)

PLS491, 492 Special Projects and Independent Study (1-3 each) Special work to meet individual needs of students in various fields of plant nutrition, propagation, growth and development, garden design, site planning, plant pathology, entomology, and related subjects. (Independent Study) Pre: permission of chairperson.

Expected Undergraduate Student Outcomes


DEPTH AND APPLICATION OF KNOWLEDGE – acquire knowledge and skills necessary to obtain or pursue a professional position or graduate/professional training in your discipline. By the time you complete your degree you will:

  • know the principles of producing, establishing and managing a variety of turfgrasses and amenity plants including ornamental trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants.
  • be able to identify key landscape plants, economic crops and turfgrasses and have a basic knowledge of their environmental needs and function in managed landscapes.
  • be aware of environmental issues associated with the production and management of landscape plants and the principles and practices of sustainable landscape management.
  • know how to identify and manage key pests of managed landscapes.
  • know principals of plant biology, particularly as they apply to the propagation and management of landscape plants.
  • have extensive practical experience in plant production, establishment, and management, including fertilization, irrigation and pest management.
  • have the opportunity to obtain professional certifications in pesticide application, arboriculture, and horticulture.

QUANTATIVE COMPETENCE - identify and use appropriate quantitative methods to analyze physical, biological, or social phenomena. By the time you complete your degree you will:

  • use basic mathematical operations, statistical procedures and quantitative reasoning to solve problems in landscape management
  • understand the application of mathematics in properly proportioning and applying seed, plant growth regulators, fertilizers and other agricultural chemicals.
  • understand basic mathematical operations and statistical concepts used in data analysis
  • use computer hardware and software to quantitatively analyze data
  • accurately comprehend and draw appropriate inferences from numeric data, statistical analysis, and quantitative models.

METHODS OF INQUIRY – understand and use methods of inquiry appropriate to your discipline. By the time you complete you degree you will:

  • use observation, exploration, experimentation, and simulation to build a personal body of knowledge about landscape management issues and solutions.
  • devise methods of inquiry to distinguish cause and effect, and to solve relevant problems in environmental horticulture and turfgrass management.
  • understand the value of different research designs and approaches.
  • formulate testable hypotheses or models in environmental horticulture and turfgrass management.
  • design an investigation or experiment(s) to test hypotheses or models, and develop predictions about possible outcomes.
  • conduct an investigation or experiment and collect, organize, and analyze relevant data.
  • identify the limitations of the methods that you use, and evaluate the accuracy and precision of the technology and methods within the context of the research question.
  • identify scientific methods that are safe, humane and ethical.

PROBLEM SOLVING – use acquired knowledge, skills, and ingenuity to solve complex problems. By the time you complete your degree you will:

  • recognize the complexity of most problems arising in the practice of plant production and the management of turfgrasses and landscape plants.
  • identify the resources and approaches necessary to work toward a solution of these problems.
  • use your knowledge to make informed choices among various management options based on scientific and/or economic principles.
  • evaluate the results of your choices, reassess, and alter your management strategies accordingly.


INFORMATION MANAGEMENT – gather and interpret information from diverse sources. By the time you complete your degree you will:

  • locate, compile, and organize information from print and electronic media
  • critically evaluate information gleaned from various sources

COMMUNICATION – communicate clearly and effectively using a variety of methods. By the time you complete your degree you will:

  • organize data for presentation
  • speak and write logically and effectively for diverse audiences
  • produce and deliver a research or outreach presentation suitable for a large audience
  • acknowledge information sources in an appropriate format

MULTIDISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVE – recognize the value of, and participate in, multidisciplinary teams. By the time you complete you degree you will:

  • understand the perspectives and scope of related disciplines
  • participate in a joint project with practitioners in related disciplines
  • interact effectively with peers and other professionals


ETHICAL PRINCIPLES – understand and apply ethical principles to issues, problems, and professional practices. By the time you complete your degree you will:

  • develop and explain a personal environmental ethic
  • know the ethical standards of the professional societies in your discipline

GLOBAL AWARENESS – develop an awareness of global community and ecology in their physical, biological and social dimensions. By the time you complete your degree you will:

  • become familiar with Earth systems and the impact of human activities on these systems
  • recognize the diverse global human cultures and their relationships with the environment

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT – develop a sense of responsibility to self, community, and society. By the time you complete your degree you will:

  • understand and respect differences among diverse populations
  • know how to find, earn, and keep a position in your professional field
  • demonstrate leadership in solving a societal problem
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