DTM*2500 Aboriculture

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The following description is for the course offering in Fall 2019 and is subject to change. It is provided for information only. The course outline distributed to the class at the beginning of the semester describes the course content and delivery, and defines the methods and criteria to be used in establishing the final grades for the course.

This course covers the culture and maintenance of trees in golf courses, parks, lawns and other urban landscapes where trees and turfgrasses are used in combination. Students learn both the principles and practices common in the proper care of trees. Case studies help students develop skills necessary to diagnose problems with urban trees.


Teaching Assistant:

Credit Weight:


Course Level:

  • Diploma

Academic Department (or campus):

Department of Plant Agriculture



Semester Offering:

  • Fall

Class Schedule and Location:

Please refer to Web Advisor for class schedule and location.

Learning outcomes:

Specific Learning Outcomes: 

The student will gain an understanding of the function and purpose of the different elements of trees and woody shrubs. Plant physiology will be discussed with specific reference to environmental stresses and changes in the biological or ecological function of the landscape, particularly urban and peri-urban landscapes. Specific skills will be developed in the following areas of emphasis: soil and site description; pest diagnostics; tree identification; planting; pruning; tree valuation; care and maintenance of trees and woody shrubs.  Critical analysis skills will be developed throughout the course via assignments and in-class challenges.  Literacy and strategic planning skills will be developed by applying practical knowledge gained towards developing a functional management plan for a site selected by the student.  Typically, this will be a park or golf course setting of the students choosing.

Combined, the specific skills developed are intended to advance the students ability to make critical decisions related to landscape maintenance as well as increasing the capacity to perform long range strategic planning.

Critical thinking skills will be evaluated via a written critical evaluation of published information.  General knowledge is evaluated via two exams.  All skills developed in this course will be evaluated through the development of a long-term strategic plan.

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

A. Using a dichotomous key, accurately identify native trees and shrubs

B.  Identify site biophysical characteristics (soil, topography, climate) that will influence plant development and longevity

C. Identify biotic and abiotic disorders of woody plants and prescribe environmentally safe and effective treatment

D. Following the principles of Plant Health Care and Integrated Pest Management create short and long term management strategies for the long term health of woody plants in managed landscapes

E. Effectively communicate strategic planning to stakeholders

F. Critically evaluate resource material (peer reviewed and trade journals and other media) for bias and accuracy

Lecture Content:

  • Tree form and structure
  • Physiology of woody plants
  • Introduction to applied soil science
  • Climate and landscape physiography
  • How soil, climate and physiography influence growth of woody plants
  • Soil and site modification
  • Site specific plant selection
  • Planting methods
  • Post planting care and maintenance
  • Pruning woody shrubs
  • Pruning ornamental trees
  • Pruning fruit trees
  • Pruning equipment: care, maintenance and safety
  • Pest management 1 – Insects
  • Pest management 2 – Disease
  • Pest management 3 – Other biotic and abiotic pests
  • Pest management 4 – Invasive pests
  • Hazard analysis and remediation
  • Social and legal responsibility
Labs & Seminars:

Most labs are scheduled as walking tours around the Guelph Campus (weather permitting).  Each tour has been designed to reinforce specific information presented in class and to enhance the student’s practical skills through hands-on training.  In door training occurs when the weather is inclement and focuses on proper equipment use and maintenance, strategic planning techniques.

Course Assignments and Tests:

Assignment or Test
Contribution to Final Mark

Literature Critique


Management Plan


Mid Term Exam


Final Exam


Final examination:

Please refer to Web Advisor for exam schedule and location.

Course Resources:

Required Texts


Recommended Texts

Pests of Landscape Trees and Shrubs, University of California Publication 3359

Arboriculture: Integrated Management of Landscape Trees, Shrubs and Vines, By: Harris, Clark and Matheny (Also available on reserve)

Trees in Canada, By J.L. Farrar

Lab Manual: 


Other Resources: 


Field Trips: 


Additional Costs: 


Course Policies:

Grading Policies:  

Assignments are due by midnight on the specified due date.  Assignments may be submitted to Dropbox in CourseLink.  Assignments may be submitted in paper format in class or by special arrangement prior to the due date.

Late assignments will be penalized at a rate of 5% per day.

Course Policy on Group Work:  


Course Policy regarding use of electronic devices and recording of lectures:

Electronic recording of classes is expressly forbidden without consent of the instructor. When recordings are permitted they are solely for the use of the authorized student and may not be reproduced, or transmitted to others, without the express written consent of the instructor.

Other Course Information:

University Policies

Academic Consideration

When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons, please advise the course instructor in writing, with your name, id#, and e-mail contact. See the academic calendar for information on regulations and procedures for Academic Consideration:

Academic Misconduct

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University of Guelph students have the responsibility of abiding by the University's policy on academic misconduct regardless of their location of study; faculty, staff and students have the responsibility of supporting an environment that discourages misconduct. Students need to remain aware that instructors have access to and the right to use electronic and other means of detection. Please note: Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offence should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor.

The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the University Calenders:


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