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Planting: Choosing Plants for the School Grounds
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Planting: Choosing Plants for the School Grounds

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Planting: Choosing Plants for the School Grounds

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  • 1. Schoolgrounds-UK Advice Sheet Planting (including poisonous) Why plant in your outdoor about the ultimate size of the space? plants you are putting in.  Do you want planting forSchoolgrounds-UK is security anywhere? If so, thornyone of the subscription There are many reasons that species may be appropriate butservices from Learningthrough Landscapes, you may want to maintain or will very young children havethe UK’s national school introduce plants into your access to them?grounds and early years school grounds. It could beoutdoor play charity.  Be aware of berries and other for aesthetic reasons; fruit. Some are safe to eat, providing sensory whilst others can cause a rangeFor more information of effects - some very serious.about subscriptions, experiences; encouragingcall 01962 845811. wildlife; screening views See the list below. such as neighbouring  Some bulbs are also poisonous. Whilst not often eaten, some buildings or bin stores; to can be mistaken for onions so direct traffic - human or care should be taken if they are vehicular; to reduce being stored. pollution, wind and the  When planting trees make sure perception of noise; for use that they are not going to causeThe Schoolgrounds-UK in the formal and informal easy access over a securityAdvice Line is open curriculum. fence when they are largeMonday to Friday all enough to climb.year round. Contact Learning through Landscapes  Some trees - such as someour specialist team foradvice on using, (LTL) has produced a range of willows - have root systems thatdesigning or managing materials about using plants in search out far and wide to findyour space: your school grounds, from moisture. These can therefore growing vegetables and other cause problems with drains.Tel:01962 845811 edible plants to using plants in  Large trees can also cause the formal and informal problems of subsidence ifEmail: curriculum. This information planted too close to buildings -member@ltl.org.uk sheet aims to look at the issues if in doubt, especially on clayWeb: involved in deciding which soils, talk to your localwww.ltl.org.uk plants are suitable for your arboricultural officer. grounds and where you should plant them for safe use. Choosing what to plant Deciding where to plant Once you have decided why you Once you have decided why you want to plant and where you are want to plant you will need to planning to place the plants, you work out the best places for the will need to decide upon the planting to be. Some places will appropriate species. There is aLTL accepts no be obvious – e.g. positioning a wide range of resources andresponsibility for the people who can help you with thisquality of goods or hedge along a boundary, orservices provided by climbing plants up a pergola - depending on your reason forany companies listed. whilst others will need more planting - including books and thought. Here are some issues magazines, local advisors, otherThis Advice Sheet offers professionals and knowledgeablea selection of contacts that you may need to consider:to try – always try your amateurs.local Yellow Pages or  Bees and wasps - Don’t placeThomson Directory, and plants that will attract insects You will need to consider whetheran internet search you are going to plant speciesengine such as near to windows - they may flywww.google.com as in on hot summer days. that can harm in any way. Thewell.  Make sure planting doesn’t level of harm of species varies block pathways etc. greatly - see the list below as aFR:10/10 guide. Some species are thorny  Will the plants grow andJM: 09-10 obscure windows? Always think whilst others are dangerous to
  • 2. Schoolgrounds-UK Advice Sheet Planting (including poisonous) eat; some are irritants to the skin Maintenance whilst others may cause allergic reactions. You may decide that Once you have chosen andSchoolgrounds-UK isone of the subscription some plants are only mildly planted your plants you will needservices from Learning poisonous and are safe to have in to maintain them. There are athrough Landscapes, your school grounds. This may number of safety issues to bethe UK’s national school also depend on where they are considered here too. Pesticidesgrounds and early yearsoutdoor play charity. positioned - are they within easy are often used by contractors access of very young children or working with woody species – i.e. pupils that may not understand trees, shrubs and hedges.For more information the dangers. Sometimes they use residualabout subscriptions,call 01962 845811. herbicides which are often in the Planting form of granules. These keep the earth bare under the plants but The whole school can get involved can also be poisonous to children with planting days. It can often be using the area. One of the most useful to have some help from common herbicides for keeping someone who is experienced in trees weed-free is glyphosate. this area - they may also have the This is the active ingredient inThe Schoolgrounds-UK tools needed to undertake the herbicides such as ‘Roundup’. It isAdvice Line is open work. This could be BTCV, the biodegradable and meant to beMonday to Friday all local rangers, environmental safe for animals and children toyear round. Contact be around straight afterour specialist team for education co-ordinators or localadvice on using, Wildlife Trust. Make sure you have application. Concerns about itsdesigning or managing enough adults to help with the long-term effects are still underyour space: children. debate. It is always best to apply Organisation is vital - make sure any herbicides when children areTel:01962 845811 there is someone in charge who not using the site to reduce the knows what they are doing and likelihood of potential problems.Email: has planned well in advance.member@ltl.org.uk There are alternatives to using Carry out a risk assessmentWeb: before you do the work and herbicides. Mulches can alsowww.ltl.org.uk remember your first aid kit! suppress weed growth and can be Consider the appropriateness of very effective. Plastic sheets and the tools supplied – are they the mats, bitumen coated mats and right size for those taking part. wood chips are all commonly You will need to go through used. They each have positive safety issues before planting – and negative aspects but should e.g. that spades and rakes etc. be considered when adding need to be stored properly when planting to a site. not in use and cared for properly etc. Also look at safe handling Poisonous PlantsLTL accepts noresponsibility for the and use of the tools – everyonequality of goods or should be shown how to do this Children are keen to explore theservices provided by before they start. Make sureany companies listed. world around them and will pick everyone has the right protective up tasty-looking berries and putThis Advice Sheet offers equipment and clothing. You may them in their mouths. As somea selection of contacts wish to use gloves, especially if berries can be eaten safely, it isto try – always try your planting thorny species, but makelocal Yellow Pages or not always easy for children, or sure that those that don’t washThomson Directory, and adults, to know what is poisonousan internet search their hands well before you stop and what is not.engine such as for lunch!www.google.com aswell.FR:10/10JM: 09-10
  • 3. Schoolgrounds-UK Advice Sheet Planting (including poisonous) Children cannot be supervised at all times in their school grounds, so many schools wish to avoidSchoolgrounds-UK isone of the subscription having the risk of a child eatingservices from Learning something poisonous whilst inthrough Landscapes, their care.the UK’s national school Some plants have stronger effectsgrounds and early yearsoutdoor play charity. than others so you may feel that these are worth including in your school grounds - the descriptionsFor more information given in the list below try to giveabout subscriptions,call 01962 845811. an idea of toxicity so that you can make an informed decision for your own school. If children eat something that you are not sure about, do seek professional advice, taking with you an example of the plant eaten if at all possible.The Schoolgrounds-UKAdvice Line is open This list covers plants thatMonday to Friday all schools may consider planting oryear round. Contact will find already in their grounds.our specialist team foradvice on using, It is by no means a complete listdesigning or managing and if you are in any doubtyour space: contact your Local Authority Health and Safety Officer. TheTel:01962 845811 information has been taken from ‘Poisonous plants & fungi’ byEmail: Marion R Cooper and Anthony Wmember@ltl.org.uk Johnson. Published by HMSO- ISBNWeb: 011 242718 9. This bookwww.ltl.org.uk contains a much more extensive list of plants and fungi that may cause poisoning and other effects.LTL accepts noresponsibility for thequality of goods orservices provided byany companies listed.This Advice Sheet offersa selection of contactsto try – always try yourlocal Yellow Pages orThomson Directory, andan internet searchengine such aswww.google.com aswell.FR:10/10JM: 09-10
  • 4. Schoolgrounds-UK Advice Sheet Planting (including poisonous) Plant Poisonous Effect part Barberry berries of Could cause mild poisoning;Schoolgrounds-UK isone of the subscription Berberis spp. some species reports of vomiting and diarrhoeaservices from Learning when handling the wood.through Landscapes,the UK’s national school Black Briony berries Can cause severe blistering andgrounds and early yearsoutdoor play charity. Tamus cimmunis burning of the mouth and digestive system, resulting in vomiting and diarrhoea.For more informationabout subscriptions,call 01962 845811. Black berries Unripe berries can cause Nightshade vomiting, diarrhoea, headache, Solanum nigrum dizziness and increase in body temperature. Severe cases can cause coma and even death. Professional advice needed. Bluebell bulbs Abdominal pain, diarrhoea andThe Schoolgrounds-UK Hyacinthoides weak pulse.Advice Line is open non-scriptaMonday to Friday allyear round. Contact Bracken spores or milk Thought to be carcinogenic.our specialist team foradvice on using, Pteridumdesigning or managing aquilinumyour space:Tel:01962 845811 Broom all parts Very large quantities can effect Cytisus varia the heart and nervous system.Email: scopariusmember@ltl.org.ukWeb: Buckthorn berries and Mild stomach ache, vomiting,www.ltl.org.uk Rhamnus chewing twigs diarrhoea and abdominal pain. cthartica Large quantities: severe digestive symptoms with haemorrhage, followed by convulsions, difficulty breathing, even death. Seek professional advice. Cherry Laurel berries Flesh is relatively harmless but Prunus seeds can be fatal when chewed. laurocerasus Symptoms develop within a fewLTL accepts no hours: vomiting, flushing ofresponsibility for thequality of goods or cheeks, rapid breathing,services provided by headache, fainting andany companies listed. convulsions. Quick medical treatment is required.This Advice Sheet offersa selection of contactsto try – always try your Cotoneaster all parts, Mild digestive systemlocal Yellow Pages or Cotoneaster spp. including disturbances.Thomson Directory, and berriesan internet searchengine such aswww.google.com as Cow parsley Said to cause poisoning similar towell. Anthriscus hemlock but sylvestris less severe.FR:10/10JM: 09-10
  • 5. Schoolgrounds-UK Advice Sheet Planting (including poisonous) Daffodil whole plant, Dizziness, stomach pains, nausea, Narcissus spp. particularly vomiting and diarrhoea. Generally bulb recovery in a few hours withoutSchoolgrounds-UK isone of the subscription treatment.services from Learningthrough Landscapes, Deadly berries Five berries or less can causethe UK’s national school Nigthshade death in children.grounds and early yearsoutdoor play charity. Atropa Seek Professional advice at belladonna once.For more information Dogwood fruits Slightly poisonous, causingabout subscriptions,call 01962 845811. Cornus spp. diarrhoea. Elder raw berries Nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, Sambucus nigra diarrhoea, weakness and coma. If symptoms severe seek professional advice. Firethorn all parts, Mild digestive-system Pyracantha spp including disturbances.The Schoolgrounds-UK berriesAdvice Line is openMonday to Friday all Foxglove leaves or Nausea, vomiting (up to 24year round. Contact Digitalis flowers hours), abdominal pain,our specialist team foradvice on using, purpurea diarrhoea, headache and slowdesigning or managing irregular pulse. In more severeyour space: cases, disturbances of vision, trembling, convulsions, delirium,Tel:01962 845811 and hallucinations can also develop.Email: Seek professional advice atmember@ltl.org.uk once.Web:www.ltl.org.uk Fritillary bulbs Has produced vomiting and Fritillaria spp. effects on the heart of children. Giant Hogweed sap Reddening, stinging and irritation, Heracleum followed by large, fluid-filled mantegazzianum blisters that can be very painful. Seek professional advice if large areas are affected or severe reaction occurs.LTL accepts no Hemlock all parts Very poisonous – symptomsresponsibility for thequality of goods or Conium appear from 15 mins to 2 hours.services provided by maculatum Rapid breathing, excessive flow ofany companies listed. saliva, difficulty in swallowing, diarrhoea, muscular weaknessThis Advice Sheet offersa selection of contacts and trembling, sometimes withto try – always try your convulsions. Seek professionallocal Yellow Pages or advice quickly.Thomson Directory, and Holly berries Not dangerous when a few arean internet searchengine such as Ilex aquifolium eaten but can cause persistentwww.google.com as vomiting and diarrhoea. Eatingwell. 20-30 berries could be poisonous. If a child has eaten more than twoFR:10/10 or three berries, induce vomitingJM: 09-10 as soon as possible.
  • 6. Schoolgrounds-UK Advice Sheet Planting (including poisonous) Horse Chestnut conkers They are bitter to taste so rarely Aesculus are enough eaten to cause severeSchoolgrounds-UK isone of the subscription hippocastanum poisoning - usually just mildservices from Learning stomach upset with vomiting -through Landscapes, however eating large numbers canthe UK’s national school kill. Severe poisoning requiresgrounds and early yearsoutdoor play charity. professional assistance. Iris all parts Can cause severe vomiting andFor more information Iris spp. diarrhoea, sometimes withabout subscriptions,call 01962 845811. bleeding. Sap can irritate skin and cause bleeding. Ivy berries Taste is bitter thus not many Hedera helix usually eaten and symptoms rarely serious - burning sensation in mouth and throat, although reaction can be more serious.The Schoolgrounds-UK Can cause skin reactions.Advice Line is open Treatment normally unnecessary.Monday to Friday all Laburnum seeds, Symptoms usually develop withinyear round. Contact Laburnum seedpods and an hour and include burning ofour specialist team foradvice on using, anagyroides flowers the throat and mouth, stomachdesigning or managing ache, diarrhoea and persistentyour space: vomiting, followed by drowsiness, dizziness, headache, difficultTel:01962 845811 breathing and dilated pupils. Often vomiting eliminates theEmail: toxins and recovery is completemember@ltl.org.uk after 24 hours, howeverWeb: professional advice should bewww.ltl.org.uk sought. Lily of the berries Nausea, vomiting and abdominal Valley pain, dilated pupils, mental Convallaria disturbances and irregular or slow majalis heartbeat and, in extreme cases, coma and death from heart failure. If there are more than mild symptoms seek professional advice.LTL accepts no Lords and all parts Burning & soreness of the mouth,responsibility for thequality of goods or Ladies lips and throat. More berries canservices provided by Arum lead to nausea, vomiting,any companies listed. maculatum abdominal pain, muscular cramps, dilation of pupils, dizziness,This Advice Sheet offersa selection of contacts irregular pulse and even comato try – always try your and death.local Yellow Pages orThomson Directory, and Lupin green pods or Eating a few pods can causean internet searchengine such as Lupinus spp. chewing seeds nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain,www.google.com as headache and dizziness.well. Mistletoe berries & Poisoning is rarely serious butFR:10/10 Viscum album leaves large amounts can be dangerous.JM: 09-10
  • 7. Schoolgrounds-UK Advice Sheet Planting (including poisonous) Oak Eating a few acorns should be no Quercus spp. cause for alarm.Schoolgrounds-UK isone of the subscription Opium Poppy extracts Can be fatal. Seek professionalservices from Learning Papaver advice.through Landscapes, somniferumthe UK’s national schoolgrounds and early yearsoutdoor play charity. Potato all parts above Eating large amounts can be Solanum ground, incl dangerous.Not safe to eat even tuberosum fruits green or after peeling and cooking –For more information sprouted abdominal pain and vomiting.about subscriptions,call 01962 845811. potatoes Primula Skin contact with some spp can Primula spp. cause dermatitis. If eaten, digestive system disturbances can result. Privet berries Small numbers cause vomiting,The Schoolgrounds-UK Ligustrum spp. abdominal pain and diarrhoea.Advice Line is open Fatal poisoning of children hasMonday to Friday all been reported. Seek professionalyear round. Contact advice.our specialist team foradvice on using,designing or managing Rhubarb leaves Nausea, stomach pains, weakness,your space: Rheum drowsiness, muscle twitching and rhaponticum convulsions may follow.Tel:01962 845811 any part raw Liver and kidney damage.Email: Seek professional advice.member@ltl.org.ukWeb: Rowan or Eating large numbers of berries,www.ltl.org.uk Mountain Ash especially when unripe can cause Sorbus spp. mild digestive-system disturbances. Snowberry berries Vomiting, diarrhoea, dizziness Symphoricarpos and in severe cases rivularis unconsciousness - children may suffer more. If only 3 or 4 berries are eaten there are no symptoms.LTL accepts no Snowdrop whole plant – Dizziness, stomach pains nausea,responsibility for thequality of goods or Galanthus nivalis particularly vomiting and diarrhoea. Recoveryservices provided by bulb generally in a few hours withoutany companies listed. treatment.This Advice Sheet offersa selection of contactsto try – always try your Spindle berries Symptoms appear 8-16 hourslocal Yellow Pages or Euonymus after eating, when vomiting,Thomson Directory, and europaeus abdominal pain and diarrhoeaan internet searchengine such as occur. Professional advice inwww.google.com as severe cases.well. Spotted Laurel fruits Slightly poisonous – causingFR:10/10 Aucuba japonica diarrhoea.JM: 09-10 leaves
  • 8. Schoolgrounds-UK Advice Sheet Planting (including poisonous) Can cause skin irritation. Stinging nettles stinging hairs Prickling sensation followed bySchoolgrounds-UK isone of the subscription Urtica dioica on leaf & stem rapid reddening and soreness andservices from Learning the development of raised whitethrough Landscapes, patches; there is oftenthe UK’s national school considerable itching later.grounds and early yearsoutdoor play charity. Sumac raw fruits Mild digestive disturbances. Rhus typhina and leavesFor more informationabout subscriptions,call 01962 845811. Sweet Pea seeds Eating a large number of seeds Lathyrus can cause temporary paralysis. odoratus Tulip bulbs Has caused vomiting and Tulipa spp. weakness. White Briony berries Less than ten berries can produceThe Schoolgrounds-UKAdvice Line is open Bryonia dioca repeated vomiting, large numbersMonday to Friday all can, in addition cause stomachyear round. Contact pains, diarrhoea, dizziness andour specialist team for difficulty breathing. Seekadvice on using,designing or managing professional advice.your space: Willow leaves Eating leaves causes severeTel: Salix spp. abdominal pain.01962 845811Email: Wisteria all parts Pods or a few seeds have causedmember@ltl.org.uk Wisteria spp. digestive-system disturbances with repeated vomiting.Web:www.ltl.org.uk Woody berries Generally only mild symptoms, Nightshade however large amounts can be Salanum serious. Seek professional dulcamara advice. Yew leaves of fruits Mild nausea and abdominal pain Taxus baccata (seeds within) to coma and death. Seek professional advice at once.LTL accepts noresponsibility for thequality of goods orservices provided byany companies listed.This Advice Sheet offersa selection of contactsto try – always try yourlocal Yellow Pages orThomson Directory, andan internet searchengine such aswww.google.com aswell.FR:10/10JM: 09-10