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10 January, 2008

Plant Propagation Course Syllabus

Instructor: David King
Phone: 310.722.3656 (Please leave a message)


Plant Propagation for Gardeners; BIOLOGY X497.35

There are no prerequisites for this course. We will meet from January 05 through March 22 for 12 meetings. We will take a field trip to The Huntington on February 09, from 9 AM to 1 PM. Those who desire, might want to make reservations now for the Huntington Tea Room as we will be on the grounds already; this will be a popular day at The Huntington because of the shows that will be in progress there. There will be one other field trip to Theodore Payne Foundation where California Native plants are propagated by the hundreds and we will work there to propagate some of those plants with their staff and volunteers; details are TBA, right now. All other meetings will take place Saturday 9:00 to 1:00 p.m. at The Learning Garden, on the Venice High School campus. This site is close to the ocean and because we will usually meet outside, please dress appropriate to the weather. We will do what we can to mitigate the cold and rain, should it come, but the material of the class is best covered with live plant material in the garden – which is, of course, is outside.
We will also be working with potting soils and cut plant material in almost every single class. Dress so that you can comfortably get dirty and yet stay comfortably dry. Dressing in layers is probably the best idea when it comes to being outdoors at The Learning Garden.

Course Purpose
This course is an introduction to the principles and practice of plant propagation, both sexual and asexual, and the science and art of grafting and budding.

Course Objectives
1. Understand the care and safe use of tools in plant propagation.
2. Understand the biology of sexual and asexual propagation of plants.
3. Understand and use the different styles of propagation of plants.
4. Be able to set up and use a plant propagation system.
5. Demonstrate an understanding of the above by propagating different species of plants.
6. Understand the physiology of plants sufficiently to be able to successfully bud and graft a variety of plants.

The materials presented in this course will enable the student to start plants from seeds and cuttings, in an amateur or professional setting.

Text for this course:
Plant Propagation A to Z – Bryant; Firefly Books, 2003 It is readily available online or in the appropriate UCLA Bookstore. There will be many additional handouts from the instructor.

Date Week TOPIC

01/05 1 Lecture: Introduction – roll, Extension policy, meeting time and place, attendance and tardiness, tools etc. Tool selection and care. Setting up work area. Sexual and asexual propagation defined; the why of asexual propagation; its advantages and disadvantages; Pages 10-46
Demonstration: Working environment; Safety and tool use
01/12 2 Lecture: General Propagation Methods and Application; Pages 47-113; pests and diseases and methodology to deal with them.
Demonstration: Division of perennials
Practical: Dividing perennial plants
01/19 3 MLK HOLIDAY - No Class
01/26 4 Lecture: Seeds, structure, germination and viability, collection, storage. Proper Planting; Return to pages 47-74; seed starting problems and their solution.
Demonstration: Scarification/Seed sowing
Practical: Sowing seeds of different sizes
02/02 5 Lecture: Meristematic tissue and the principles of propagation by cuttings; Return to pages 92-113
Demonstration: Different kinds of cuttings
Practical: Making cuttings
02/09 6 Field Trip to The Huntington’s Propagation Area
02/16 7 HOLIDAY - No Class
02/23 9 Instructor out of town – No Class
03/01 8 Lecture: Grafting and Budding
Demonstration: Grafting and budding
Practical: Grafting and budding
03/08 10 Lecture: Non-commercial Tissue Culture
Demonstration: Solution for tissue culture
Practical: Making material for tissue culture
03/15 11 Field Trip to Theodore Payne Foundation
12 Lecture: Grafting and other propagation techniques, Pages 75-91 and 114-123
Demonstration: Grafting a fruit tree
Practical: Graft a fruit tree

Class Meetings
To each class, in addition to your text, and any note-taking apparatus you deem necessary, each student should bring:
A ‘secateur’ type pruner (NOT an anvil pruner)
Gloves – leather are best
A grafting knife

These items will be described in our first class meeting.

There will be one final exam at the end of this course for credit students. It will consist of written material and a practical element as well. It will be incumbent upon credit students to notify the instructor as soon as possible of an emergency that prevents them from taking this exam and to supply the instructor with a verifiable excuse of absence. Upon fulfilling such requirements, the instructor will offer a make up exam which must, of necessity, be of a different form and content of the original exam. The instructor therefore assumes the prerogative of creating such make-up exam in any form of standard test procedures at his convenience and the fairness of such an exam his sole arbitration.

Instructor’s Office Hours
Please avail yourself of my willingness to meet with you at any time to discuss your progress in the course or to clarify instructional material or to answer any difficulties you are having. My preference is to meet with you at my office at The Learning Garden where we can cover material without distraction but I am willing to meet with students anytime, anywhere to assist you in learning; after all, that is the point your taking the class and my teaching it. It is my wish that all students learn and are profited by their enrollment in this course. Do not struggle; I am here to help.

Remember its location.

Guidelines for Meetings in The Garden
A garden is filled with uneven surfaces, rocks, plants with thorns and other armaments and an infinity of possibilities for injury; most of the time in this course we will be using very sharp tools which deserve your utmost attention at all times, please give due attention and consideration of this. Remain on pathways and do not walk into planted beds unless it is absolutely necessary. Do not pick anything without permission – it’s common courtesy.

A garden and the plants do not talk; I feel responsible as their spokesperson and take that responsibility seriously.

Food and drink are allowed, but the removal of any trash or waste is entirely incumbent on the eator and/or drinkor.

Appropriate clothing is essential. Remember, Venice can be hot and cold by turns. Layering is suggested; a jacket or sweater nearby is essential. We will meet regardless of weather. If it is a light rain/mist, we will continue work. If it is a gully-washer, we will be in a classroom and will carry on.

Point Assignment:
For Credit Students. It is more important to me that you learn the material above all other considerations. I will endeavor, through point assignment and the exam, in addition to lecture and demonstration to teach you in a way that will facilitate learning the material.
Checklist 30%
Final Exam 20%
Practical Application 30%
Class Participation 20%
TOTAL 100.00%

The Huntington
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, CA 91108

Theodore Payne Foundation
10459 Tuxford Street
Sun Valley, CA 91352


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