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Horticulture

The Latin words hortus (garden plant) and cultura (culture) together form horticulture, classically defined as the culture of garden plants.

Horticulture is more than just this. Horticulturists work in plant propagation, crop production plant breeding and genetic engineering, plant biochemistry, plant physiology, storage, processing, and transit (of fruits, berries, nuts, vegetables, flowers, trees, shrubs and turf). They improve crop yield, quality, nutritional value, and resistance to insects, diseases, and environmental stresses. Genetics is also used as a valuable tool in the development of plants that can synthesize chemicals for fighting disease (including cancer).

Horticulture involves five areas of study. These areas are floriculture (includes production and marketing of floral crops), landscape horticulture (includes production, marketing and maintenance of landscape plants), olericulture (includes production and marketing of vegetables), pomology (includes production and marketing of fruits), and postharvest physiology which involves maintaining quality and preventing spoilage of horticultural crops.

Horticulturists can work in industry, government, or educational institutions. They can be cropping systems engineers, wholesale or retail business managers, propagators and tissue culture specialists (fruit, vegetables, ornamentals, and turf), crop inspectors, crop production advisors, extension specialists, plant breeders, research scientists, and of course, in teaching.

College courses that complement can be in biology, chemistry, mathematics, genetics, physiology, statistics, computer science, and communications. Plant science and horticulture courses include: plant materials, plant propagation, tissue culture, crop production, post harvest handling, plant breeding, crop nutrition, entomology, plant pathology, economics, and business. For many careers you must have a master's or doctoral degree.



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