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 Hort 330

Bioswale (V.I.
Horticulture 330 - Landscape Plants for Urban & Community Environments
Fall 2016

Replaces Hort 231 + 232
Catalog description: 3 (2-3) Plants for solving problems in human-dominated landscapes: their characteristics, functions such as storm water management and climate change mitigation, ecology, identification, and selection. Recommended preparation: BIOLOGY 120 or HORT 202

MW 12:10-1 PM
in Vogel 43

TTh 9:10-10:25 AM in Vogel 43
Learn to identify & use plants for:
  • Urban heat island mitigation
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Storm water management
  • Water conservation
  • Food production
  • Human health and more!
Lists of Plants for:
  1. Pollution reduction
  2. Pollinators and other wildlife
  3. Storm water management
  4. Edible landscapes
  5. Parking strips
  6. Green roofs and walls
  7. Cooling
  8. Windbreaks
  9. Water conservation
  10. To be determined

Expanded course description:
The environmental, ecological, and human health impacts of increasing urbanization, globalization, and climate change are growing.  Impacts include increases in the rate of introduction of invasive plants and pests, the rising urban heat-island effect, the need for local food production, and increases in human deaths associated with reduced air quality.  Landscape plants can be used in human-dominated landscapes to mitigate or adapt to some of these impacts.  This course focuses on understanding environmental and human health impacts in areas of concentrated populations and on how groups of plants, based on their characteristics, could be used in human-dominated landscapes to moderate these issues.

About 60% of the class focuses on understanding environmental and health problems associated with living in human-dominated landscapes and the uses or functions of landscape plants to solve, reduce, or mitigate these problems. Topics for this portion of the class will include urban heat-island effect, energy use, loss of genetic diversity, storm water management, risks to native plants and animals (including insects), and rising human deaths associated with poor air quality and increased stress.  Students will also research additional, current topics.

About 40% of the class focuses on learning to select and identify landscape plants for these functions.  For example, we will look at effective plant choices for green roofs and walls, temperature mitigation, edible landscapes, and improved human health.  For selected labs, students will have input into plant choices for additional functions based on their research.

A total of 1200 points will be assigned as shown below.  Scores will be posted on Blackboard.

224 (19%) - Participation: 16 points per week (12 points during weeks with a holiday), based on level and quality of participation, including attendance, discussion, in and out of class activities, and pop quizzes.  A total of 232 points will be possible; the extra 8 points allow for two absences without penalty and will be extra credit for those with full participation.

300 (25%) - Homework: 5 written and oral assignments; 50 or 75 points each; no scores dropped
1.  Find additional problems in urban and community environments (50 pts)
2.  Select functional plants for a parking strips (“hell strips”) (75 pts)
3.  Find and review a scientific article on a selected urban or community problem (75 pts)
4.  Find and review a scientific article on climate change and a class topic (50 pts)
5.  Select plants for mitigating a selected urban or community problem (pdf version) (docx version)(50 pts)

200 (17%) - Class exams (on class topics and assigned readings; not cumulative) and finals week exam (cumulative): 3 exams; 100 points each; lowest dropped.

256 (21%) - Lab identification quizzes (cumulative): 10 quizzes; 32 points each (8 plants at 4 points each); 2 lowest dropped; always in lab Tuesday after List is introduced.

100 (8%) - Lab ID midterm exam (cumulative): 25 plants at 4 points each; required.

120 (10%) - Lab ID final exam (cumulative): 30 plants at 4 points each; required.

Midterm Grades: assigned based on percent of points possible two to five days before grades are due.

Final Grades: assigned using 93% for A, 90% for A-, 87% for B+, etc., which equates to the following point distribution:
A    1116-1200   
A-   1080-1115
B+  1044-1079   
B     996-1043   
B-    960-995
C+   924-959   
C     876-923   
C-    840-875
D+   804-869   
D     720-803   
F     0-719

Integrity:  You are on your honor to participate in this class as your own representative.  Academic dishonesty, in any form, including copying from others on quizzes or copying from the web on assignments, is unacceptable.  If you are caught cheating, you will receive a zero on the involved activity and be reported to the Office of Student Standards & Accountability.  If you are caught violating the Standard for Student Conduct WAC 540-260010 (3) more than once, you will receive and F in the class and be reported to the Office of Student Standards & Accountability.  If you are suspected of cheating, I may assign a zero or have you redo the activity under conditions of my choosing.

Late Work:  Homework assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due date.  They may be turned in late, but you will lose 1 point for every day (including weekends) past the due date, unless stated otherwise on the homework instructions.  You will receive no comments or explanations for your grade on late work.  The last chance to turn in late homework is during the final class exam.

Make-Up Scores, Exams & Quizzes:  You are expected to attend all classes and labs.  No make-up for class or lab participation, class or finals week exams, lab ID quizzes, or lab ID exams will be given.  If you miss any of these, you will receive a zero for your score.  A specified number (see above) of low scores for exams and quizzes are dropped to keep you from being unduly penalized for missing class for unforeseen circumstances, such as an illness, death in the family, court appearance, or faulty alarm.  You do not need to provide an excuse.  If there are extreme, extenuating circumstances (such as being in the hospital for 3 weeks), I may agree to an alternative arrangement or to assigning an incomplete.

You are expected to be a positive, contributing member of the class.  Much work will be done in groups, so you must act in a manner that helps you and others learn.  Come to class prepared.  Assist others when you can.  Don’t disrupt learning by others, for example by talking during presentations. 

Regular attendance and participation are essential to doing well in this course.  The material to be learned depends heavily on presentations and activities in class and lab.  There are no good alternative sources of materials for much of the information covered.  Check Blackboard for information and assignments.

Be prepared to go outside during lab, regardless of weather!  Be prepared to walk rapidly on wet, muddy, or slippery surfaces. Participation includes being ready for the weather, so that you can think and talk about class topics and not about how cold or wet you are. 

If you miss a class, ask other students what you missed.  Obtain any handouts on Blackboard.  Do the assigned reading and review notes from another student.  If anything is still unclear, ask the instructor.

Use electronic devices wisely.  Computers, tablets, and other electronic devices may be used for taking notes.  Other uses must be approved by the instructor.  Turn noise generators (e.g. ringers) off.  

Check your student e-mail! New WSU policy: All official WSU email communication (including info about this class) must be sent to a student’s WSU email address, beginning Aug. 24, 2015.

Safety:  “Washington State University is committed to maintaining a safe environment for its faculty, staff, and students. Safety is the responsibility of every member of the campus community and individuals should know the appropriate actions to take when an emergency arises. In support of our commitment to the safety of the campus community the University has developed a Campus Safety Plan. It is highly recommended that you visit this web site as well as the University emergency management web site to become familiar with the information provided.”

Safety will be enforced in this class.  For example, you may be dismissed from lab if you throw objects such as pine cones or snow balls on lab walks.  I once had to take a student to the emergency room, and I don’t want to do it ever again!

Reasonable Accommodations:   “Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and need accommodations to fully participate in this class, please either visit or call the Access Center (Washington Building 217; 509-335-3417) to schedule an appointment with an Access Advisor. All accommodations MUST be approved through the Access Center.”

Syllabus Changes:   Information in the syllabus and in class handouts is assumed to be correct, but could change if something unexpected occurs.  Changes will be presented in class, on Blackboard, and/or in class handouts.

Class Policy Violations:  Any violations of class policies or instructors’ instructions could result in losing privileges, such as the use of a computer to take notes, or could result in being banned from specific classes or labs or expelled from the entire course

There are no required books for this course.  Material will be provided through Blackboard, in class, or found by students, based on assigned work.  Check Blackboard for assigned readings.

WSU Learning Goal: Outcome - By the end of the semester, you will be able to:
Activity to advance learning goal:
Evaluation of proficiency:
1. Critical & creative thinking Select plants to solve different environmental or human health problems, including climate change, and justify the selection
Lectures, readings, and discussions
Participation; Homework; Exams
2. Quantitative reasoning
Explain graphical information on environmental and human health issues associated with human-dominated landscapes and the role of plants in mitigating the issues
Lectures, readings, and discussions
Participation; Homework; Exams; Quizzes
3. Scientific literacy
Describe the biological basis for plant responses to environmental factors that affect their ability to function effectively in human-dominated landscapes
Lectures, lab activities, readings, and discussions
Participation; Homework; Exams; Quizzes
4. Information literacy
Find and evaluate different resources on plants and environmental and human health issues associated with human-dominated landscapes
Class discussions and homework
Participation; Homework
5. Communication skills
Describe (orally and in writing) functional uses of landscape plants to solve selected environmental and human health issues associated with human-dominated landscapes
Class discussions, lab activities, and homework
Participation; Homework; Exams; Quizzes
6. Diversity
Recognize and compare the values of working effectively alone and in groups
Class and lab activities
7. Depth of learning
Demonstrate awareness of the ways that landscape plants can be used to solve environmental and human health issues associated with human-dominated landscapes
Class discussions, lab activities, and homework
Participation; Homework; Exams; Quizzes

(Subject to change as presented in class, on the class web site, or on Blackboard)
WEEK Class (M/W)
Lab (T/Th)
Homework, quiz, or exam
1 Introduction; Preparation for selected urban and community topic selection;
Selecting plants; Environmental problems in human-dominated landscapes
Introduction; Scientific names; Morphology
Syllabus quiz
Human health problems mitigated by landscape plants;
Homework 1; Pollution and human health
List 1: Pollution reduction
Lab quiz 0 (Tues.)
Homework 1 (Wed.)
Plants for pollinators and wildlife
List 2: Pollinators and wildlife
Lab quiz 1 (Tues.)
Storm water management
List 3: Storm water management
Lab quiz 2 (Tues.)
5 Presentation of Homework 2;
Urban food production
List 4: Edible landscapes
Homework 2 (Mon.)
Lab quiz 3 (Tues.)
Class exam preparation or catch-up;
List 5: Parking strips
Lab quiz 4 (Tues.)
Class exam 1 (Wed.)
Benefits of green roofs and walls
List 6 Green roofs and walls

Lab quiz 5 (Tues.)
Presentation of Homework 3;
Loss of biodiversity and genetic diversity
Lab midterm ID review
Homework 3 (Mon.)
Lab quiz 6 (Tues.)
ID Review;
Plants and human stress
Lab midterm ID exam
ID exam (Tues. & Thurs.)
Urban heat-island effects;
Presentation of Homework 4
List 7: Cooling
Homework 4 (Wed.)
Windbreaks and energy use
List 8: Windbreaks
Lab quiz 7 (Tues.)
Presentation of Homework 5; Water in plants;
List 9: Water conservation
Homework 5 (Mon.)
Lab quiz 8 (Tues.)
Invasive plants
List 10: Selected problems
Lab quiz 9 (Tues.)
Class exam preparation or catch-up;
Lab exam ID review
Lab quiz 10 (Tues.)
Class exam 2 (Wed.)
ID Review;
Class summary and conclusions
Final lab ID exam
ID exam (Tues. & Thurs.)
Finals Week

Class exam 3

Kathie Nicholson, 360-460-6271 or 509-335-6586,

Department of Horticulture
Washington State University
Pullman, Washington 99164-6414 U.S.A.
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Page updated June 28, 2016