Degree in Horticulture

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by MowHouston, Jun 24, 2008.

  1. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    Does anyone have any recommendations on how to go about getting a degree in Horticulture, or even an opinion on if it even matters. I would like to pursue some sort of professional education revolving around my industry, especially landscape design so that I dont run blindly into this area of the green industry and also so I will have the knowledge at hand.

    I've seen some deals on landscape design courses, with those classes being accredited, but I dont think it has anything to do with a degree. I want to take my business to the highest professional level that I could acheive.

    Who out there has their bachelors and is there a masters in horticulture? Was it worth it for you?

  2. h400exinfl

    h400exinfl LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 106

    Check out your local community college. Night classes, deals with local plants, and cheap.
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Lots of young degree holders have one concern when I meet them. That is whether I would like that in a Value Meal.
    A piece of paper does not make you a better scaper, and if you are already in the business you want to focus on what you are doing rather than what the college thinks you should know.
    If I need to know something about what came up at work yesterday I google it and go back to work with an answer/solution.

    If you decide to take some classes take Botany. Horticulture classes are fun and interesting but very little applies to what you are doing in your business. Botany give a solid foundation as to how plants work and what they need to thrive.
  4. Venturewest

    Venturewest LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 516

    I would have to say I disagree a little bit with this post. I don't think anyone that got a degree in hort would say it is a waste. In fact my degree in horticulture was specifically in landscape contracting. 5 years ago I knew nothing about plants or landscaping.
    In the first 2 years I had an indepth plant knowledge of about 360 differant plants. That is knowing and spelling correctly the botanical name which is the standard for the nursery industry and landscape architecture, I knew specific varieties and cultural requirements.

    Here are some other classes you might get to take. Irrigation Design, Landscape Construction, A botany class that will give you more than you want to know, Turf maintenance, A class on evergreens, one on deciduous plants, one on herbacious plants, and one on tropicals, and indoor plants.
    Plant establishment and maintenance.

    By taking part time classes for 2 1/2 years I gained extensive knowledge. It gave me a career. I know that when I am working for a client, I am doing best practice. I regularly go behind contractors that have been in the business for 20+ years and fix bad workmanship.

    I would highly recommend a horticulture degree to everyone. If you get the right professors, your learning experience will be amazing! Every state has at least one university that offers landscape and hort classes. Many of these have satellite campuses where you can get a 2 years associates or a certificate in horticulture. Many of these programs have night classes. I went 2 days a week from 5 to 10 PM. We spent more than half the time in lab or in the field gaining practical knowledge. We were out planting, pruning, installing, identifying. I already had a Bachelor degree prior to horticulture so I didn't feel the need to gain another, but I will continue taking classes that are beneficial to my career and to my clients. For example I would still like to become proficient in CAD.

    One more thing: Probably 75% of all my new customers said they called me because I listed I had a degree in horticulture.

    At least go for an Associate, and keep working while you learn. If you want to go on get a Bachelor or even a masters.
  5. h400exinfl

    h400exinfl LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 106

    I agree, I'm taking classes in horticulture now with focus on getting a landscape certificate. I already have bachelors as well. I've worked in nurseries or on mowing / landscaping crews for the better part of 15 years (it was always my backup plan, should of started with it). Last semester I took a landscape install lab and learned more in one semester about installing landscapes than all the experience put together.
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    All I am saying is, that if there was internet when I was going to university, I wouldn't have bothered. Not that I didn't learn alot of stuff, but other than Botany, very little was applicable to what I do.
    I never stayed for a degree and I get my jobs according to the work I do. Quality results make the career. I see a lot of shoddy workmanship by scapers that their piece of paper cannot cover up.
  7. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,779

    Many people seem to want to believe thatyou EITHER have experience OR education. Reality is that one does not displace the other. If you front load with a little bit of education, it helps you understand and process the experiences you have shortening the learning curve.

    One question that remains is how much of a learning curve is there in what you want to do.

    One of the side benefits of a structured education is that you wind up learning about things that you otherwise had no interest in which can result in opportunities that you would have otherwise missed out on. I had to take regional planning and environmental classes that I did not want to take. Now there is a huge market due to lots and lots of regulation driven by the environmental movement with few people with the knowledge to be able to effectively participate in it. One of the benefits is that this type of work is required where most landscape work is at the descretion of the property owner.

    Messages: 18,668

    Here in Dallas we have a Master Gardeners program. Not a bad way to go for an irrigation guy or other type of non landscape professional. TAMU if you have the time and inclination is a great place for that stuff.
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Agreed - and many people do better in a structured education. My problem is with structured education advertising. Are we Americans so stupid we can succeed unless we have a piece of paper?

    I don't believe we are. In fact I believe that structured education should provide information from experts in the field rather than JUST experts in the lab. People come out of classes not really understanding soil perculation or turgor pressure.

    Lawns were not even discussed when I was in school because the fertilizer companies and the squirt and fert companies domination what was "Considered education" at that time. The 'official' line was BS and the botanists, knew it.

    Trusting gov't controlled education is something I gave up on a long time ago. Who is dominating your education today on the best candidate for president? Same thing in University.
  10. PORTER 05

    PORTER 05 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 642

    tough to say, i know some guys that go through school, and do the same stuff and done do any better, i know another guy though that went to school, and learned about hardscape, kids buiding huge walls and crap, gots skidsteer dump ect and hes only 20-school worked for him.

    depends onn wat you got for, id go for hardscaping if it were me and heavy equitment training-

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