Tropical Production Systems

TPSS 300


Kent Kobayashi

Semesters taught:

Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017


This course has been designed as a bridge between the introductory course and the four upper division courses in the production of specific crops (TPSS 401 - 404). TPSS 300 assumes that:

  1. Diversified agriculture in Hawaii will increasingly mean horticultural crops. Knowledgeable horticulturists will be required to manage these crops and to serve as agricultural advisors.
  2. There is a common thread to many horticultural practices within different horticultural crops that can be followed and understood as systems.
  3. Students will need to apply their knowledge across a range of crops as they may become involved in several different horticultural enterprises in their careers. Hort. 300 prepares them to view different crops as systems.

Skills and knowledge to be acquired:

Develop an understanding of the continuum of practices from substrate production to harvest or end use of a horticultural crop. Learn how environmental and crop manipulations influence cropping efficiency. Be able to identify problems in production and apply an organized approach to their solution.

Computer skills to be acquired:



TPSS 200 or consent


There is no one textbook that deals with all of the topics this course will cover. Students will be provided handouts and are expected to read them and to utilize the library and other resources to obtain information. The Internet is becoming a useful resource. Students will be expected to learn how to use it effectively.

Films and videos:

Automated pot plants -- Holland IPM for Vegetables & Small Fruits Vegetables Drip irrigation & fertigation management of vegetable crops Agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley Farm implements: Tillage Farm Implements: Planting & Cultivation Pruning Ornamental Trees Best management practices for nitrogen fertilizer and water use in irrigated agriculture Conversation with Alluvion's Susan Matsushima

Guest Speakers:

The whole course is contributed by many different faculty. Guest (non-faculty) speakers are usually part of the laboratory exercises and have been different each year.

Field Trips:

One to a fruit or vegetable production operation One to an ornamentals production operation

Course organization:

  • Types of production systems
  • What makes it a production system?
  • The light environment
  • Application of light, scheduling
  • Aerial environment
  • Temperature environment
  • Monitoring temperature, degree days
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Temperature management, scheduling
  • Hydroponics in horticulture
  • Water management
  • Water: environmental concerns
  • Soil testing & nutrient status
  • Plant nutritional practices
  • Substrate management: field soils / artificial media
  • Uses of PGRs in horticulture
  • Plant growth regulator considerations
  • Canopy management in horticultural crops,
  • Training & Support / Pruning
  • Grafting to control growth
  • What can go wrong? Diagnosis of plant problems
  • Pests of agriculture in Hawaii
  • IPM & historical trends in agrochemical usage
  • Weed control IPM/ living mulches
  • Review sprayer calibration; IPM Certification, calibration
  • Federal standard for Organic Food production
  • Protected cultivation
  • Computer use in horticulture
  • Computer use: cost of production
  • Computer use: scheduling
  • Harvesting technologies
  • Handling & storage of horticultural crops
  • Standards & certification
  • Processing of horticultural crops
  • Grading, inspection / quality determination
  • Movement & marketing of horticultural crops
  • Government regulations in horticulture
  • Industry organizations their roles - What a buyer wants
  • Horticulture on the global scene
  • Hawaii's horticulture


20% for each of 3 mid-terms, 20% for final, 20% for laboratory exercises and homework. Numeric grades throughout course. Final grade based on percentage of total points completed.