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Volume 4, Issue 7 Phyto
Phyto reviewed by Brian Thompson

What is phytotechnology? Kate Kennen and Niall Kirkwood define it in part as “the use of vegetation to remediate, contain or prevent contaminants in soils, sediments and groundwater.”

How is this done?  Kennen and Kirkwood use their new book, Phyto: Principles and Resources for Site Remediation and Landscape Design, to answer this question. They specifically target landscape architects, urban planners, and others who are interested in applying the lessons of the relatively new field of using plants as problem solvers in design, construction, and maintenance.

This book is superbly organized and very detailed, but the reader is not expected to have a deep understanding of the science or engineering of phytotechnology. Instead, the emphasis is on results, particularly on properties that have a significant history of degradation and are in close proximity to urban development, including active industrial, commercial, and residential neighborhoods.

There are many case studies. The examples are typical to any city, but some of the at-risk properties are surprising, and include community gardens and cemeteries – humans have a significant impact on almost any development. Once the hazards of a site are identified, solutions are suggested and clearly illustrated. This excellent book concludes with guides to additional resources and an extensive bibliography.

 Parsley piert mugshot by TurfFiles@NCSU.eduFrom the Gardening Answers Knowledgebase:
What is this tenacious spreader on poor soil?
by Rebecca Alexander, Plant Answer Line Librarian

Q: Slowly but surely, what's left of my untended lawn is being overtaken by a small weed with fan-shaped leaves. It reminds me of a tiny Lady's Mantle. What is it, and is there any hope of getting rid of it without herbicide?

A: Your description sounds like Aphanes australis, whose common name is slender parsley-piert. The common name derives from the plant's leaves which resemble parsley, and the French 'perce-pierre,' meaning 'break (or pierce) stone.' It thrives in dry, exposed, or barren soils. North Carolina State University's Turf Center describes cultural control methods:
"Winter annual broadleaf weeds germinate in the fall or winter and grow during any warm weather, which may occur in the winter, but otherwise remain somewhat dormant during the winter. They resume growth and produce seed in the spring and die as temperatures increase in late spring and early summer. They quickly invade thin turf areas especially where there is good soil moisture. Shade may also encourage growth. Many have a prostrate growth habit and are not affected by mowing. A dense, vigorous turf is the best way to reduce the encroachment of winter annual weeds. First, select adapted turfgrass cultivars for your area and then properly fertilize, mow, and water to encourage dense growth."

It sounds like lawn renovation might be a good idea. If the parsley-piert has intense competition from a happily growing lawn, it will not thrive. Seattle Public Utilities has good resources on lawn care.

select urban farming resourcesSummer spotlight on urban farms

Susan Lally-Chiu's exhibit Drawings from Our Edible Gardens continues at the Miller Library through July 29. To complement her vivid work, we will be featuring library resources on urban farming. Practical topics like market gardening, raising livestock in the city, and student farming appear presented along with more theoretical works exploring everyting from the history of allotments to case studies in urban landscape design for agriculture. There is something for everyone!

New to the Library
The foodscape revolution : finding a better way to make spacQuiet in the garden / written and illustrated by AlikiNative plants of the Midwest : a comprehensive guide to theThinking the contemporary landscape / Christophe Girot and DThe monarch : saving our most-loved butterfly / Kylee BaumleInternational garden photographer of the year - ten year annCutting back : my apprenticeship in the gardens of Kyoto / LThe food forest handbook : design and manage a home-scale peThe Chinese kitchen garden : growing techniques and family rThe lord treasurer of botany : Sir James Edward Smith and thGarden flora : the natural and cultural history of the plantA Linnaean kaleidoscope : Linnaeus and his 186 dissertationsSeeds : a natural history / Carolyn Fry.Botanicum / illustrated by Katie Scott ; written by Kathy WiAncient botany / Gavin Hardy and Laurence Totelin.Place-based education : connecting classrooms and communitieThe Amaryllidaceae of southern Africa / text by Graham DuncaEastland Gardens / [Javier Barker [and others] ; Eastland GaThe Andean wonder drug : cinchona bark and imperial scienceWildflowers of New England / Ted Elliman & New England WGrowing a revolution : bringing our soil back to life / DaviField guide to the wild flowers of the western MediterraneanBecause of an acorn / by Lola M. Schaefer and Adam SchaeferThe Children's Garden : growing food in the city / Carole LeThe very berry counting book / Jerry Pallotta ; illustrated

Leaflet for Scholars is a regular online newsletter of the Elisabeth C. Miller Library
University of Washington Botanic Gardens
206.543.0415 |  hortlib@uw.eduwww.millerlibrary.org

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