Department of Plant and Soil Science

http://www.uvm.edu/~pss/

Majors in the Department of Plant and Soil Science include both Ecological Agriculture and Sustainable Landscape Horticulture that allow students to expand their knowledge of science and apply it to plant production, landscape design, and environmental issues related to plants, insects, soil, and water management. This program provides a unique, interdisciplinary opportunity to study plant/soil ecosystems that are managed for food, feed or fiber production, for landscape purposes, or for recycling/waste utilization, areas that are very important from societal and environmental perspectives. PSS faculty represent the disciplines of entomology, soil science, horticulture, landscape design, agronomy, plant pathology, and agroecology. 

The Plant and Soil Science program integrates classroom and field experiences incorporating relevant environmental, social, and economic issues into the curriculum. The program is flexible, allowing students to pursue their interests in plant production, landscape design, and environmental issues related to plants, pathogens, pests, soils, and water management while preparing for career opportunities and graduate studies. Faculty help students develop individualized courses of study to match their interests and career goals. For more information, email: pss@uvm.edu or call (802) 656-2630.

Plant and Soil Science M.S.

Plant and Soil Science Ph.D.

See the online Graduate Catalogue for more information

Courses

PSS 003. D2:SU:Coffee Ecol & Livelihood. 3 Credits.

This course presents an overview of the environmental, social and economic dimensions of coffee production, commercialization and consumption, with a focus on Mesoamerica coffee producing regions.

PSS 010. Home & Garden Horticulture. 3 Credits.

Planning, selecting, and maintaining shrubs, trees, flowers, lawns, fruits, and vegetables around the home. Suitable for students in any major.

PSS 015. Home & Garden Horticulture Lab. 1 Credit.

This lab provides practical, hands-on horticultural skills both in and around the home. Co-requisite: PSS 010.

PSS 021. SU: Intro to Ecological Agr. 3 Credits.

Ecological concepts as applied to agriculture including farm visits.

PSS 028. A Bug's Life. 3 Credits.

An introduction to the world of insects and their impact on our everyday lives, from the food we eat to solving murder crimes.

PSS 095. Special Topics. 1-18 Credits.

Courses or seminars on topics beyond the scope of existing department offerings.

PSS 096. Special Topics. 1-18 Credits.

Courses or seminars on topics beyond the scope of existing department offerings.

PSS 106. Entomology & Pest Mgmt. 0 or 4 Credits.

Survey of the major insect orders, and methods for controlling injurious species. Prerequisites: PSS 010, PSS 021, one semester Biology, or Instructor permission.

PSS 112. Weed Ecology & Management. 0 or 3 Credits.

Identification, ecology, and management of weeds and other invasive plants in agriculture, urban/suburban landscapes, and natural areas. Prerequisites: PSS 010 or PSS 021, or PBIO 004, or Instructor permission.

PSS 117. Plant Pathology. 4 Credits.

Introduction to the causes of plant disease including the relationship of the plant, pathogen, and environment in disease development and disease management. Pre/co-requisites: PBIO 004, or BIOL 001 and BIOL 002, or BCOR 011 and BCOR 012 or Instructor permission. Cross-listed with: PBIO 117. Alternate years.

PSS 121. Indoor Plants. 1 Credit.

Indoor flowers, culture, related topics such as design. Prerequisite: PSS 010 or PSS 021, or one semester of Biology, or Instructor permission.

PSS 123. Garden Flowers. 2 Credits.

Outdoor flowers, culture, related topics. Prerequisite: PSS 010, PSS 021, one semester of Biology, or Instructor permission.

PSS 124. Agroecology of Vegetable Crops. 0 or 4 Credits.

The course will introduce students to agroecological research in vegetable cropping systems, farm management, and current trends in organic and conventional vegetable production. Prerequisite: BIOL 001 and BIOL 002 or Instructor permission. Alternate years.

PSS 125. Woody Landscape Plants. 0 or 4 Credits.

Identification, climatic requirements, cultural management, and use of ornamental plant materials in landscape planting. Prerequisite: PSS 010, PSS 021, one semester of Biology, or Instructor permission.

PSS 127. Greenhouse Operations & Mgmt. 0 or 4 Credits.

Principles and practices of commercial greenhouse management including construction, heating, cooling, container media, watering, fertilization, light and temperature, growth regulators, integrated pest management and disease control. Prerequisite: PSS 010, PSS 021, one semester Biology, or Instructor permission. Alternate years.

PSS 137. Landscape Design Fundamentals. 4 Credits.

Studio course to learn techniques of landscape design and analysis, develop graphic communication skills for representing the landscape, and apply sustainable design principles to a site. Prerequisites: Junior standing; at least one course in drawing, design, or mapping, or Instructor permission. Cross-listed with: CDAE 137, ENVS 137, NR 137.

PSS 138. Commercial Plant Propagation. 0 or 4 Credits.

Principles and practices involved in propagating herbaceous and woody plants by seeds, division, layering, cuttings, budding, grafting, and aseptic culture. Prerequisite: PSS 010, PSS 021, one semester Biology, or Instructor permission.

PSS 143. Forage and Pasture Mgmnt. 4 Credits.

Principles and practices of growing and utilizing forage plants for hay, silage and pasture; introduction to management intensive grazing; understanding forage quality. Pre/co-requisites: PSS 010, one semester of Biology, one semester of Plant Biology, or Instructor permission. Cross-listed with: ASCI 143.

PSS 145. Turfgrass Management. 3 Credits.

Establishment, maintenance, and utilization of turf for aesthetic, athletic and utility functions. Pre/co-requisite: PSS 010, PSS 021, one semester of Biology, or Instructor permission. Alternate years.

PSS 154. Composting Ecology & Mgmt. 3 Credits.

Examines ecological, physical and chemical principles, the practical management of the composting process, and benefits of using compost in plant and soil ecosystems. Prerequisite: Three credits in basic biological or ecological science or Instructor permission. Alternate years.

PSS 156. SU: Permaculture. 3 Credits.

Design of agriculturally productive environments that have the diversity, stability, and resilience of the natural biosphere to harmoniously integrate landscape and people. Prerequisite: Three credits in a basic biological or ecological science, or permission. Cross-listed with: ENVS 156.

PSS 158. Internship:Eco Ag/Lndscape Hrt. 1-3 Credits.

Academically oriented hands-on experience in agriculture and horticulture under the joint supervision of instructor and host. Pre/co-requisite: Must be a Junior/Senior in the Ecological Agriculture Major or the Sustainable Landscape Horticulture Major or Instructor permission.

PSS 161. SU:Fundmntls of Soil Science. 0 or 4 Credits.

Biological, chemical, and physical properties of the dynamic soil system as related to plant growth and environmental problems. Prerequisite: Inorganic chemistry or permission.

PSS 162. Soil Fertility & Conservation. 3 Credits.

An ecological approach to soil management including nutrient supply and uptake, rhizosphere-microbial interactions, soil conservation, and nutrient management strategies. Prerequisite: PSS 161 or Instructor permission.

PSS 195. Special Topics. 1-18 Credits.

Courses or seminars on topics beyond the scope of existing department offerings. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.

PSS 196. Special Topics. 1-18 Credits.

Courses or seminars on topics beyond the scope of existing department offerings. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.

PSS 197. Undergrad Independent Study. 1-6 Credits.

Individual projects under direction of a faculty member. Project may involve original research, readings, internship, or assisting in teaching. Prerequisite: Permission. More than a total of six credits per semester requires the permission of the Department Chair.

PSS 198. Undergrad Independent Study. 1-6 Credits.

Individual projects under direction of a faculty member. Project may involve original research, readings, internship, or assisting in teaching. Prerequisite: Permission. More than a total of six credits per semester requires the permission of the Department Chair.

PSS 208. Organic Farm Planning. 3 Credits.

Students acquire financial, business, and technical knowledge and skills needed to run a 3-acre vegetable farm at UVM's Horticultural Research Farm. Pre/co-requisites: PSS 021 and one 100-level PSS course, equivalent experience, or Instructor permission.

PSS 209. Sustainable Farming Practicum. 4 Credits.

An experiential course in sustainable, diversified vegetable production that includes soil fertility, weed, insect and disease control, crop planning and farm management skills. Prerequisites: PSS 021 and one 100-level PSS course, equivalent experience or Instructor permission.

PSS 212. SU: Advanced Agroecology. 0 or 4 Credits.

This course presents an in-depth overview of research and applications in the field of agroecology, including current ecological and social dynamics in agricultural landscapes in Vermont and abroad. Pre/co-requisites: PSS 021 and one semester ecology at the 100-level or above or Instructor permission. Cross-listed with: ENVS 212.

PSS 232. Biological Control. 3 Credits.

Describes theory and application of biological control of insects, disease, and weeds. Discuss ecological factors that contribute to the success of classical, augmentative, and conservation approaches to biological control. Approved for Graduate credit. Prerequisite: Course in entomology, ecology, or relevant experience.

PSS 238. Ecological Landscape Design. 4 Credits.

Studio course synthesizing work from fields of landscape ecology and landscape design, exploring ecological design alternatives at multiple scales, and developing multifunctional landscape solutions. Prerequisites: Junior standing; PSS 137 or one course in ecology plus one course in design or drawing. Cross-listed with: CDAE 238, ENVS 238, NR 238.

PSS 261. Soil Morph Class & Land Use. 0 or 3 Credits.

Field techniques that describe soil properties, formation, and classification. The principles and processes of soil genesis, land use classification systems, and land use challenges. Prerequisite: PSS 161 or Instructor permission. Alternate years.

PSS 264. Chemistry of Soil & Water. 0 or 4 Credits.

An environmentally oriented study of the colloidal chemistry of soil and its interfaces with roots, water, and air. Prerequisites: PSS 161, two semesters Chemistry or Instructor permission. Alternate years.

PSS 266. Soil Water Movement. 3 Credits.

Mathematical modeling and physical principles of the soil-water-plant interaction and its relationship to environmental and agricultural issues. Prerequisites: PSS 161, one semester of Physics or Instructor permission. Alternate years.

PSS 268. Soil Ecology. 0 or 4 Credits.

Underlying concepts and theory of modern soil ecology will be reviewed including spatial and temporal distributions, sampling methods, biogeochemical cycles, and ecological functions of soil. Prerequisites: BCOR 102 or NR 103, and PSS 161. Cross-listed with: NR 268.

PSS 269. Soil/Water Pollution/Bioremed. 3 Credits.

Examines key issues in pollution of soil and water. Topics include type of pollutants, their reactions in soil and water, pollution prevention and bioremediation. Prerequisites: PSS 161 or Instructor permission. Alternate years.

PSS 281. Prof Dev:Eco Ag/Sust Lndsc Hrt. 1 Credit.

Students will develop and articulate a professional philosophy and improve skills in career development including writing, resume preparation, effective interviewing and negotiation. Prerequisites: Sophomore/Junior standing; Ecological Agriculture Major or the Sustainable Landscape Horticulture Major or Instructor permission.

PSS 295. Advanced Special Topics. 1-18 Credits.

Lectures, laboratories, readings, field projects, surveys, or research designed to provide specialized experience in horticulture, agronomy, soils, entomology, and integrated pest management. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.

PSS 296. Advanced Special Topics. 1-18 Credits.

Lectures, laboratories, readings, field projects, surveys, or research designed to provide specialized experience in horticulture, agronomy, soils, entomology, and integrated pest management. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.

PSS 297. Advanced Independent Study. 1-6 Credits.

Individual projects under direction of a faculty member. Project may involve original research, readings, internship, or assisting in teaching. Prerequisite: Instructor permission. More than a total of six credits per semester requires Chair permission.

PSS 298. Advanced Independent Study. 1-6 Credits.

Individual projects under direction of a faculty member. Project may involve original research, readings, internship, or assisting in teaching. Prerequisite: Instructor permission. More than a total of six credits per semester requires Chair permission.