65947 - Ornamental Arboriculture

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes



The student will acquire: working knowledge of tree organs, capacity to identify vegetative and reproductive structure; knowledge on hormones and hormonal regulation of growth, including the application of bioregulators to control tree development; knowledge of the main metabolic cycles in the plant: carbon, water, main nutrients; knowledge on tree/light interactions, with emphasis on the regulation by light of tree morphology and its physiological performance. The student will also gain knowledge of the principles underpinning pruning ornamental plants, and the capacity to implement ornamental tree production techniques, from propagation to planting, pruning, irrigating, fertilizing, etc.

Course contents

a) Prerequisites

Students entering this course need knowledge in: mathematics to understand the modelling approaches; physics and chemistry to understand the plant/environment interactions; plant biology for the anatomy, cytology, cell functioning. These prerequisites are all needed for the thourough understanding of the subject matter of the course.

The design and management of landscape and urban green mandate that professionals in this field possess a strong understanding of the tree, its ontogeny and utilization.

b) Contents

The course is divided in 9 teaching units, which are described below:

1. Tree organs (teaching unit length: 3 hours)
Description and identification of tree organs.
The student learns to identify and acquires the proper nomenclature for all the parts/organs that make up e tree. This unit includes a field lab.

2. Tree sexual reproduction (teaching unit length: 5 hours)
Seed, Polyembriony, apomissy, juvenility.
Timing and methods for planting seeds, seedling management.
The student learn methods and acquires knowledge related to sexual reproduction of trees.

3. Tree asexual propagation (teaching unit length: 8 hours)
Tree propagation methods: grafting, cuttings, layering, micropropagation.
Chimeras, mutations, topophysis.
Grafting: main types and methods.
The student acquires knowledge related to how to propagate a-sexually trees, and learns the techniques involved in the practice. This teaching unit and the previous one may include a field trip to a nursery.

4. Canopy management (teaching unit length: 6hours)
Principles and rules applying to pruning ornamental trees.
Pruning techniques.
The student gains a perspective on the problems related to the pruning vs. non-pruning options in ornamental trees, and to determine when an ornamental tree needs to be pruned. He also gains knowledge on the types of pruning cuts, methods and nomenclature. This unit includes a field lab on the campus premises.

5. Tree/Environment Relations(teaching unit length: 8 hours)
Tree/light interactions.
Tree responses to temperature, rain, other precipitation.
The student learns to to assess environmental conditions prior to deciding the genus, species, cultivar to utilize in any given environment. This unit may include self-taught activities by the student.

6. Tree ontogeny: vegetative and reproductive cycles (teaching unit length: 8 hours)
Tree Carbon balance.
Vegetative vs. reproductive growth, flower bud differentiation, flowering.
The student acquires fundamental knowledge for the correct management of the tree, which is the overall goal of the course.

7. Tree water relations (teaching unit length: 6hours)
Water uptake and movement within the plant.
Water potential, definition, measurement.
Water stress induced by excess vs. shortage of water.
Irrigation and fertigation.
The student learns the physiological bases underpinning the water demand by the tree, coupled to know-how on the determination of irrigation volume and timing of application.

8. Light (teaching unit length: 4 hours)
Pigment absorption.
Absorption and activity spectra.
The student learns about the varying requirements for light presented by ornamental trees and indoor ornamental plants. This knowledge is essential for the choice of various species, in order to match genera, species to the actual light conditions.

9. Tree life cycle (teaching unit length: 12 hours)
Morphogenesis and photomorphogenesis, phytochrome, phototropisms.
Hormones and plant growth regulators.
Flower bud differentiation, flowering, senescence.
The student integrates the knowledge and skills from the previous sections and forms a holistic view of the tree, its functioning, matching this knowledge with practical skills to manage the trees.


All teaching materials free from copyrights are provided by the instructor.

A comprehensive arboriculture reference text is:

S. Sansavini et. al. “Principles of modern Fruit Science” ISHS, Belgium.

Teaching methods

The course features up to 60% of the hours in the classroom, and the remaining 40% administered as field labs, using the Istituto Tecnico Agrario Scarabelli farm; study visits; greenhouse activities. The latter include experiences related to reproduction (sowing and caring for seedlings); grafting techniques adopted in ornamentals. Photosynthesis and water potentials are measured in plants subjected to stress, e.g. water stress.

In consideration of current legislation regarding COVID-19 containment, teaching will be carried out as per Unibo's guidelines. Currently, they state that all teaching will be carried out in mixed (in class and remote) modality. 100% online teaching may occur under special conditions, such as lectures given by visiting professors and/or in case of health conditions of the instructor that mandate self-quarantine.

Assessment methods

The final exam is a multiple choice, computer assisted test. The specific conditions of the test will be communicated during the course, as they may have to be tailored to existing Coronavirus imposed limitation.

As this is part of an Integrated Course, the professor in charge of recording the exam is Luca Corelli Grappadelli



Teaching tools


PC, Beamer, ornamental trees and orchards, Scarabelli Greenhouse, scientific instruments made available by the instructor.

Office hours

See the website of Luca Corelli Grappadelli