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Plant User Handbook: A Guide to Effective Specifying

Plant User Handbook: A Guide to Effective Specifying

James Hitchmough (Editor), Ken Fieldhouse (Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-470-75720-8 January 2008 Wiley-Blackwell 400 Pages


Professional landscapers and all those involved in creating green spaces have long been in need of a book that is a guide to plant specification, but also makes sense of plants and their cultivation.

Plant User Handbook is for practitioners who are professionally engaged in the use of plants in public, commercial and institutional landscapes. Planting schemes are undertaken on the basis of a binding contract – generally between the client (who owns or leases the landscape) and the implementer (the landscape contractor), with the designer acting both as specifier and contract administrator. Within this contractual relationship, planting schemes must be implemented to an agreed timetable. To manage this procedure efficiently, landscape designers and managers need quick access to the factual and scientific background for practical planting design and its implementation through specification writing and contracts.

The book covers over 20 well defined topics, and is written by leading experts in the industry. It is arranged into five sections:

  • Preliminaries to plant use and the landscape
  • Managing plant growth on landscape sites
  • Establishment and management of trees
  • Establishment and management of smaller woody plants
  • Establishment and management of herbaceous plants

Carefully illustrated with diagrams, black and white photographs and colour plates, this handbook provides a unique resource for professionals wanting to improve their specification skills, as well as to explore creative approaches to design and practical implementation.

Foreword by Christie, Hartel and Porter.

Preface by Tom La Dell.



I Preliminaries to plant use and the landscape.

1 Introduction to plant use in the landscape.

2 Selecting plant species, cultivars and nursery products.

3 Procuring plants for landscape projects.

II Managing plant growth on landscape sites.

4 Amelioration of underperforming soils.

5 Soil drainage.

6 Weed control in amenity landscapes.

7 The long term health of plants.

III Establishment and management of trees.

8 The establishment of planted nursery stock.

9 Tree roots and buildings.

10 Semi-mature trees.

11 Trees in paving.

12 Creating urban woodlands.

IV Establishment and management of smaller woody plants.

13 Shrub mosaics and woodland edge.

14 Ground cover.

15 Hedges and their management.

16 Pruning shrubs.

17 Climbing plants.

18 Roof gardens.

V Establishment and management of herbaceous plants.

19 Wildflowers in rural landscapes.

20 Wildflower landscapes in the urban environment.

21 Aquatic planting.

22 Direct-sown annual meadows.

23 Bedding plants.

24 Bulbous plants for use in designed landscapes.

25 Herbaceous perennials.

26 Amenity and sports turf seed.

27 The management of amenity grasslands.


Plant index.

The color plate section can be found opposite p 172

'This handbook is destined to become an essential guide to the specification of plants and planting for professionals and students....The book will help landscape architects both to specify planting with more confidence and techical understanding and encourage them to be more adventurous and creative with future planting schemes. This book, deserves a place in every practice library: it should be compulsory reading for everyone involved in the design and implementation of planting. In fact, the Plant User Handbook should be read by all plant users.'

Landscape Magazine April 2004

'This book will help landscape professionals enormously with their main knowledge base' Greenscapes June 2004

* a unique source of reference for everyone concerned with successful plant establishment and amenity landscape management
* provides practical guidance from leading specialists
* richly illustrated - black & white and colour plates and line drawings