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Effective: Summer 2015

Advisory: Advisory: Completion of or concurrent enrollment in HORT 15 recommended; not open to students with credit in HORT 52A.
Grade Type: Letter Grade Only
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Non-GE Transferable: CSU/UC
2 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (60 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • Evaluate a soil by chemical and physical means.
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of terms and principles of soil chemistry, physics, and commercial management.
Description -
Fundamentals of soil science including examination of soil formation, physical and chemical properties of soil, relationships between soil, water and plants, and biological factors of soil. Examination of soil samples and interpretation of soil reports and surveys. Basics of plant fertility requirements and soil related topics such as composting, environmental issues, and soils in construction.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. Identify various types of soil structure and texture.
  2. collect soil samples, test for major, secondary and trace elements, pH, EC, water percolation and water holding capacity.
  3. Use soil sampling tools and equipment and test methods in an appropriate manner.
  4. Evaluate a soil by chemical and physical means and prepare a written report on the correct management of the soil.
  5. Grow indicator plants in a test soil and check soil to compare and contrast growth rates and quality.
  6. Demonstrate, on written examinations, knowledge of the terms and principles of soil chemistry, physics, and commercial management.
  7. Demonstrate an understanding of the implications of soil management for different cultures worldwide.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
Horticultural laboratory with soil science equipment; related horticultural facilities and equipment. Students provide soil samples, work boots, leather gloves and clothing for fieldwork.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Introduction and scope of soil science in plant growth
  2. Methods of collecting and using soil samples to test plant growth
    1. Collection of samples for professional testing
    2. Determination of sample size and area
  3. Physical and chemical properties of soils
    1. Soil texture
    2. Soil structure
    3. pH
    4. Salinity
    5. Fertility through CEC and base saturation
  4. Interaction of soil water, air, and organisms
    1. Microorganisms
    2. Macroorganisms
    3. Rhizosphere
    4. Soil food web
  5. Use of pH meters and soil test chemical reagents
  6. Testing soils for chemical properties
    1. Testing for N
    2. Testing for P
    3. Testing for K
    4. Testing for pH
    5. Testing for other nutrients
  7. Evaluation of plant and soil test results
    1. managing soils
    2. nutritional needs of crops growing in soils
  8. Historical use of soils by native populations in California
  9. Use of Soils
    1. composting
    2. landscape and building construction
    3. soils and the environment
  10. Use of soil maps
    1. Soil classification
    2. Soil horizons
    3. Soil uses and restrictions
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Midterm Exam
  2. Term project:
    1. Evaluating plant growth in test soil
    2. Evaluating physical and chemical soil test
  3. Laboratory exercises
  4. Final examination
  5. Participation through attendance
Representative Text(s) -
Brady, Nyle and Weil, Ray, Elements of the Nature and Properties of Soils, 3rd Ed., Pearson Education, Old Tappen New Jersey, 2009.

Disciplines -
Environmental Horticulture & Design
Method of Instruction -
  1. Lecture
  2. Discussion of soils related topics
  3. Field work in collecting and analyzing soil samples
  4. Laboratory
  5. Demonstration of sampling and testing techniques
  6. Field trips
Lab Content -
  1. Collection of soil samples
    1. Excavation of soil
    2. Processing sample
  2. physical and chemical testing of soil samples
  3. Use of pH meters and soil test chemical reagents
    1. Testing for N
    2. Testing for P
    3. Testing for K
    4. Testing for pH
    5. Testing for other nutrients
  4. Soil issue problem solving.
    1. Soil water movement
    2. Soil fertilization application
    3. Soil amendment problems
    4. Soil amendment recommendations
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Reading assignments will include reading approximately 30-50 pages per week from assigned text. Supplemental reading will be provided in hand-out form or through reference to on-line resources.
  2. Lectures will address reading topics and experiences of instructor. Classroom discussion and demonstrations in support of lecture topics will be provided.
  3. Guest speakers from industry will provide supplemental lecture and demonstration.
  4. Writing assignments include:
    1. topical white papers
    2. soils report