Principles of Horticulture

C.R. Adams, K.M. Bamford
and M.P. Early
Published in: Elseviers
Release Year: 2008
ISBN: 978-0-7506-8694-5
Pages: 426
Edition: 5th
File Size: 17 MB
File Type: pdf
Language: English

Description of Principles of Horticulture

By studying the principles of horticulture, one is able to learn how and why plants grow and develop. In this way, horticulturists are better able to understand the responses of the plant to various conditions, and therefore to perform their function more efficiently. They are able to manipulate the plant so that they achieve their own particular requirements of maximum yield and/or quality at the correct time. The text therefore introduces the plant in its own right, and explains how a correct naming method is vital for distinguishing one plant from another. The internal structure of the plant is studied in relation to the functions performed in order that we can understand why the plant takes it particular form. 
The environment of a plant contains many variable factors, all of which have their effects, and some of which can dramatically modify growth and development. It is therefore important to distinguish the effects of these factors in order to have precise control of growth. The environment which surrounds the parts of the plant above the ground includes factors such as light, day-length, temperature, carbon dioxide and oxygen, and all of these must ideally be provided in the correct proportions to achieve the type of growth and development required. The growing medium is the means of providing nutrients, water, air and usually anchorage for the plants.
In the wild, a plant will interact with other plants, often to different species and other organisms to create a balanced community. Ecology is the study of this balance. In growing plants for our own ends we have created a new type of community which creates problems – problems of competition for the environmental factors between one plant and another of the same species, between the crop plant and a weed, or between the plant and a pest or disease organism. 
These latter two competitive aspects create the need for crop protection . It is only by identification of these competitive organisms (weeds, pests and diseases) that the horticulturist may select the correct method of control. With the larger pests there is little problem of recognition, but the smaller insects, mites, nematodes, fungi and bacteria are invisible to the naked eye and, in this situation, the grower must rely on the symptoms produced (type of damage). For this reason, the pests are covered under major headings of the organism, whereas the diseases are described under symptoms.
Symptoms (other than those caused by an organism) such as frost damage, herbicide damage and mineral deficiencies may be confused with pest or disease damage, and reference is made in the text to this problem. 
Weeds are broadly identified as perennial or annual problems. References at the end of each chapter encourage students to expand their knowledge of symptoms. In an understanding of crop protection, the structure and life cycle of the organism must be emphasized in order that specific measures, e.g. chemical control, may be used at the correct time and place to avoid complications such as phytotoxicity, resistant pest production or death of beneficial organisms. For this reason, each weed, pest and disease is described in such a way that control measures follow logically from an understanding of its biology. More detailed explanations of specific types of control, such as biological control, are contained in a separate chapter where concepts such as economic damage are discussed.
Principles of Horticulture book is not intended to be a reference source of weeds, pests and diseases; its aim is to show the range of these organisms in horticulture. References are given to texts which cover symptoms and life cycle stages of a wider range of organisms. Latin names of species are included in order that confusion about the varied common names may be avoided. Growing media include soils and soil substitutes such as composts, aggregate culture and nutrient film technique. Usually the plant’s water
and mineral requirements are taken up from the growing medium by roots. Active roots need a supply of oxygen, and therefore the root environment must be managed to include aeration as well as to supply water and minerals. The growing medium must also provide anchorage and stability, to avoid soils that ‘ blow ’ , trees that uproot in shallow soils or tall pot plants that topple in lightweight composts. 
The components of the soil are described to enable satisfactory root environments to be produced and maintained where practicable. Soil conditions are modified by cultivation's, irrigation, drainage and liming, while fertilizers are used to adjust the nutrient status to achieve the type of growth required. The use of soil substitutes, and the management of plants grown in pots, troughs, peat bags and other containers where there is a restricted rooting zone, are also discussed in the final chapter. The importance of the plant’s aerial environment is given due consideration as a background to growing all plants notably their micro climate , its measurement and methods of modifying it. This is put in context by the inclusion of a full discussion of the climate , the underlying factors that drive the weather systems and the nature of local climates in the British Isles. 
There has been an expansion of the genetics section to accommodate the need for more details especially with regard to genetic modification (GM) to reflect the interest in this topic in the industry. The changes in the classification system have been accommodated and the plant divisions revised without losing the familiar names of plant groups, such as monocotyledon, in the text. Concerns about biodiversity and the interest in plant conservation are addressed along with more detail on ecology and companion planting. More examples of plant adaptions have been provided and more emphasis has been given to the practical application of plant form in the leisure use of plants. The use of pesticides has been revised in the light of continued regulations about their use. More details have been included on the use of inert growing media such as rockwool .
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