Sounds of the underground

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Sir David Attenborough has introduced us to the idea that plants have senses which can respond to their environment. Now a 22-year-old at Shuttleworth College is trying to find out if they react to sound.

Peter Lickorish has won a Milton Keynes Parks Trust bursary of £500 to conduct experiments in the potting shed of the land-based campus near Biggleswade.

He is placing propagation stage Euphorbia plants in sound boxes to see whether they grow best in silence, with the sound of trickles of water or mixed noises such as students talking around them.

sounds of undergroundPeter is completing the study as his dissertation for his Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Masters and said:

“There is a practical application for this especially with the modern designs of plant walls in and outside of offices. Setting aside atmospheric influences, do plants respond to the sound of a busy office or traffic noise, or does that stunt their growth compared to gentle sounds like running water?”

Peter works part-time at Shuttleworth College supporting those on the RHS courses which range from Level 1 Diploma up to degree-level and has his own business - Peter Lickorish’s Plant Paradise based in his home of Shenley Church End, Milton Keynes.

Explaining about the support for his project, Peter added:

“The bursary is called the Fred Roche Foundation Study Award and is named after the man who was the General Manager Milton Keynes Development Corporation and thus green space developer of the new city. Only now can his vision for the greenness of Milton Keynes be really appreciated. 

Like others from Milton Keynes who are interested in plants and gardens, I came to study at Shuttleworth College as it is has a long-standing reputation in the field of horticulture and agriculture.

For more information about horticulture courses and research programmes at Shuttleworth College visit www.shuttleworth.ac.uk
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