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A branch of horticulture concerned with the selection, planting, and care of woody perennial plants. Knowing the potential form and size of plants is essential to effective landscape planning as well as to the care needed for plants. Arborists are concerned primarily with trees since they become large, are long-lived, and dominate landscapes both visually and functionally.

Plants can provide privacy, define space, and progressively reveal vistas; they can be used to reduce glare, direct traffic, reduce soil erosion, filter air, and attenuate noise; and they can be positioned so as to modify the intensity and direction of wind. They also influence the microclimate by evaporative cooling and interception of the Sun's rays, as well as by reflection and reradiation. Certain plants, however, can cause human irritations with their pollen, leaf pubescence, toxic sap, and strong fragrances from flowers and fruit. Additionally, trees can be dangerous and costly: branches can fall, and roots can clog sewers and break paving.

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From McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Environmental Science. The Content is a copyrighted work of McGraw-Hill and McGraw-Hill reserves all rights in and to the Content. The Work is © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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