TM 5-803-11/AFJMAN 32-10139
dren's play areas. However, there are a number of
(2) Plant Parts. Trees and shrubs that shed
naturally occurring poisons in the plant world.
plant parts should not be located where excessive
Some poisons are highly concentrated in certain
shredding will create a hazard, such as over path-
plant species and can be dangerous to humans if
ways, or where shedding will create a severe main-
ingested. Others may cause dermatitis or allergic
reactions. For example, one or two seeds from a
(3) Branching Plant Material. Plant material
castor bean plant (Ricinus communis), if chewed
with flexible branches should be used where chil-
and swallowed, may be deadly to young children. In
dren may run through plant material.
some plants, poisons are concentrated in certain
b. Guying and Staking Methods. Protrusion and
plant parts. Others are poisonous when raw or un-
ripe, and edible when cooked or ripened. The seri-
methods. Horizontal stakes or tree guards should be
ousness of the reaction depends on the amount of
used. Diagonal guy wires which create trip hazards
plant material eaten as well as the condition and
will not be used.
c. Pests. Use of plant materials that attract
tolerances of the person affected. Young children are
harmful pests should be avoided.
likely to have more pronounced responses to plant
d. Undesirable Plant Characteristics. Harmful or
toxins than adults simply because of size.
undesirable plant material should be eliminated
(1) Identify Poisonous Species. There are over
from play areas, such as plants with thorns, those
700 known poisonous plants in North America. De-
that excrete sticky sap, trees that drop large limbs,
signers should be familiar with poisonous local spe-
and plants that require excessive pruning to dis-
cies. A local horticultural expert should be contacted
for assistance in plant identification. The American
courage climbing. Short turf species are less likely
Medical Association Handbook of Poisonous and In-
to conceal sharp or foreign objects. Plants with ber-
jurious Plants is an excellent comprehensive refer-
ries or fruit should be avoided in play areas in-
tended for children under 3 years.
ence for more information.
e. Visual Barriers. Carefully consider visibility
(2) Eliminate Poisonous Plants. Poisonous
when designing with plant materials, and avoid cre-
plants will not be provided in children's outdoor play
areas. Existing poisonous vegetation will be removed.
ating visual barriers. Visibility should be provided
from adjacent housing and from the street. Clear
12-7. Plant List Development.
lines of visibility should be provided to all parts of
Based on criteria presented in this chapter, a list
the play area from more than one location within
the play area.
of local plants and ground cover should be devel-
f. Pesticides and Fertilizers. To the extent pos-
oped that identifies the most appropriate regional
sible, natural methods of pest management and
species for each use, such as play, wildlife habitat,
weed control will be employed. This process can be
and shade. A list of local species that are highly
facilitated by selecting pest- and disease-resistant
poisonous or otherwise unsuitable in children's play
plant species. Species that require extensive fertili-
areas should also be developed. These lists should
zation should be avoided.
be used to evaluate existing plantings in children's
g. Poisonous Plants. The great majority of plants
outdoor play areas, select additional species, and
are highly beneficial and perfectly safe for chil-
develop new designs.