Horticulture


My name is Dennis Decautau and I’m a professor of Horticulture here at Penn State. The students that come into Horticulture generally have a true love of the outdoors and they also enjoy working with the environment and they love working with plants and the interaction of plants with people. And a lot of our students also tend to want to start up their own business. To really excel in horticulture you should be strong in the basic sciences as well as math and also have just a good understanding of people in general. When a student comes to Penn State to study Horticulture, they’re going to learn the science and the art of horticulture which means the production the growing, the selling, the marketing, of fruits, vegtables, flowers, and ornamental plants. In preparation for their studies here at Penn State, they should probably have a good background in basic biology as well as some knowledge of chemistry. Once they come to Penn State, then we’ll further refine that knowledge. Part of the study in horticulture, actually, is requirement for the students to either do an internship, which is a related work experience, or to actually do a research project with a facualty member. This gives them the hands-on that they need to progress in their careers as well as also the experience for them to determine if this is really what they want to do for the rest of their lives. The internships can be as varied as working in public gardens or working with manufacturing see manufacturers or irrigation specialists or production. They could even work on farms in terms of either a fruit farm or a vegtable farm or an ornamental production facility. With a bachelors degree in horticulture in Penn State they’ll generally enter the workforce in the lower management position. Generally working their way up through the steps and probably at some point becoming an upper-level manager. Or they can go into the research area and do work. in plant breeding or plant nutrition or they may just stay in marketing and that’s if that’s where their interests lies. The hot areas in horticulture, well we like to say that “we are the green of the green technology” so anything right now that utilizes plants is really a hot area. So the whole environmental movement in the use of plants to improve or better or protect the environment is very hot right now and that includes green roofs as well as mitigation effects that plants might have on sound and noise and even odors. I just love working with plants and I also love seeing how people respond to plants and trying to maximize that response to turn that into a positive experience.

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