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Urban Soils: Applications and Practices

Urban Soils: Applications and Practices
Philip J. Craul
New York: John Wiley & Sons
Publication Date: 

cloth, 366 p., $79.95.

Philip Craul's experience as a landscape architect and senior lecturer at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design is apparent in this excellent book that combines the basics of soil science with practical applications for horticulturists. Craul begins his discussion of urban soils by stating the purpose of this book, "to provide detailed information on some of the more commonly used procedures and applications of urban soils," and Craul delivers on his promise.

Urban Soils includes detailed discussions of the fundamentals of soil science as well as practical applications, such as writing soil specifications for new planting sites, creating the appropriate soil conditions for a rooftop garden, designing drainage systems, planning an irrigation system and controlling erosion and sediment loss. Craul does a superb job of discussing the impact of urban environmental conditions and disturbed soils on trees and shrubs. He follows up with procedures to overcome these problems by amending the soil, modifying topography and planting trees using proper techniques. By implementing many of the principles Craul discusses, landscapers and grounds crews will not only give their plants a better start but also allow for higher-quality, long-term growth.

Nearly every horticulturist, landscape architect and grounds manager could benefit from the topics covered in this book; it has much broader application than just for those working in urban environments. College and university professors should consider using Urban Soils as a required text for their horticultural and landscape architecture students in place of the more common agronomic-based soil texts. Longtime landscape architects and contractors should also consider this information-packed book to help them become more knowledgeable on the subject of soil and its properties. In doing so, they will become better stewards of our green spaces.

— Linda L. Jones