"Understand the classification and use of conifers"
This is a course for amateurs and professionals; plant collectors and breeders, nurserymen, botanists, landscapers, gardeners and horticulturists.
Conifers are important commercial crops in many parts of the world. They have, over millennia, become ingrained parts of culture and daily life. Apart from use as garden plants, they provide wood to build our houses, and Christmas trees which we celebrate around in December. In some cultures, conifers provide important medicines, craft materials and even edible nuts.
Course Duration: 100 hours
Review the system of plant identification, general characteristics of the conifer plant group, information contacts you can use (ie: nurseries, seed, clubs, etc).
Planting, staking, mulching, watering, pest & disease, feeding, pruning, protection from wind, salt air, propagation, etc.
Conifers that reach tree proportions, their characteristics and requirements, how to grow conifers by seed propagation and grafting techniques.
- Common Medium Size Shrubs
Many conifers fall into this height category. Some of the popular conifers are Chamaecyparis, Juniperus and Thuja. How to prune conifers.
- Small Shrubs
How to choose small and prostrate conifers and their care. How to care for seedlings up to planting out stage.
- Australian Native Conifers
Araucaria, Callitris, Podocarpus are three good conifers for use. The importance of environmental zones in Australia and how it can effect plant growth.
- Rarer Conifers
Hemlocks, Podocarpus, Larches and leaf characteristcs of Cephalataxus.
- Using Conifers
As timber, oils, edible seed, christmas trees, etc.
- Landscaping with Conifers
Upon completing this course you should be able to do the following:
- Distinguish between different types of conifers in cultivation, including twenty-five different genera and fifty different varieties.
- Specify the general cultural requirements of different conifer genera.
- Determine specific cultural requirements for some commonly cultivated conifer species.
- Specify specific cultural requirements for some lesser grown conifers, including Australian native and uncommon species.
- Determine different commercial applications for conifers in horticulture.
- Prepare a planting design using conifers.
What Is Covered
As you proceed through this course you will do the following:
- Describe the binomial system used for naming plants.
- Distinguish, using labelled illustrations, between different conifer families, including: Pinaceae, Taxodiaceae, Cupressaceae, Podocarpaceae, Araucariaceae and Taxaceae.
- Use a botanical key to identify different conifer genera.
- Compile a resource information guide for conifers, including scope of operation and contact information (ie: address, phone, fax), for different contacts, including:
- product suppliers
- other organisations
- Prepare reviews of fifty conifers, not collected elsewhere, each including:
- a photo, drawing or pressed specimen
- plant names (scientific and common)
- cultural details
- Propagate different conifers, using at least three different techniques.
- Determine the preferred soil requirements, for typical conifers, in your locality.
- Prepare a potting media suitable for container growing an advanced conifer, in a tub.
- Explain the planting requirements which are common to most conifers in your locality.
- Explain irrigation techniques appropriate for conifer culture, in your locality.
- Explain the nutrition requirements of different conifer species, from different families.
- Explain health problems common to conifers, including identifying features, significance to the plant, and control.
- Describe how to prune different conifer species, in your locality.
- Determine routine cultural procedures, to be undertaken in each month of the year, with conifers in your locality.
- Describe different conifer species, growing in a specified locality, including:
- plant description
- preferred habitat
- growing requirements
- Compare the cultural requirements of ten commonly grown conifer species.
- Explain why it is often difficult to grow other plants beneath the canopy of conifers.
- Determine procedures for successfully establishing two specified conifer species on a specific site which you survey.
- Determine any native conifers endemic to your locality or nearby localities.
- Describe the different features of six specific native conifer species, including:
- plant description
- natural habitat
- growing requirements
- Describe different features of five specified uncommonly grown conifer cultivars, including:
- foliage colour
- foliage shape
- preferred site
- Determine two different "non standard" propagation techniques, that may be successful in propagating "rare" and uncommonly cultivated conifer species.
- Formulate a schedule of cultural tasks to be undertaken over a twelve month period, to establish new plantings of a conifer species not commonly grown in your locality.
- Determine ten conifer varieties, including at least five different species, suitable for pot culture.
- Determine five conifer varieties suitable for hedging.
- Compare cultural techniques required for growing two specified conifers in containers with growing them in the ground.
- Describe the culture of conifers in different situations, including:
- as topiary
- as bonsai
- as a hedge
- as a rockery planting
- as screening
- Determine conifer species which have commercial value as a plantation crop, including:
- essential oils
- foliage/filler for florists
- Evaluate the use of conifers, in a garden with both conifers and flowering plants, using a supplied checklist of design criteria.
- Evaluate the use of conifers, in a garden which is either all, or predominantly conifers, using a supplied checklist of design criteria.
- Design a conifer garden bed square meters, which incorporates at different conifer varieties, and satisfies both aesthetic and cultural requirements of a specified site, that you survey.
Learn to Identify, Propagate then Grow a Wide Variety of Cultivars
The methods commonly used to propagate conifers are fairly similar across different genera and species, with a few exceptions.
Seed propagation is mainly used for large scale propagation of timber species, for breeding new varieties and where there is very little variation in progeny from the parents.
Cuttings produce progeny genetically identical to the parent. This is important when propagating named cultivars, or when selecting new ones to spread. Cuttings can also be taken when the parent plant may not produce viable seed, or seed is not otherwise available.
Seed propagation may require specialised treatments such as stratification (chilling the seeds) or scarification (nicking the seed coat). Germination periods may vary from days to months or even years, and growth at the early stage of a seedling can be very slow. For many of the intergeneric hybrids (hybrids between different genera), now available, seed propagation will usually yield offspring that vary considerably to that of the parent.
Cutting propagation often produces a profitable size plant more quickly.
Tissue culturing has recently been used for rare specimens. Due to the scarcity of specimens in existence, and the rarity of seed, the vast reproduction capacity of tissue culture has yielded many hundreds of new plants of such rare for distribution around the world.
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