Phytoremediation: A green sustainable technology

Phytoremediation and/or phytotechnologies definition: Using living plants to help clean soil, water and air of pollutants. Abby Farms stocks many known remediation plants in its inventory. 

The demand for this type of work and plant material seems to be increasing in the mid-Atlantic area for state and federal contracts. While a lot of people don’t think of the small jobs as contamination sites like Chernobyl, almost all new commercial construction sites have a paved parking lot with an attached drainage area for the collection of water after rain events. These collection areas receive fuel or oil leaked from their customers’ cars, not to mention any object or item tossed out the window or dumped out- it could be anything from a Big Gulp to battery acid.

Look around the next time you go to Lowe’s or Wawa and you’ll see tiny “Chernobyls” all over Maryland. This is an excellent opportunity for the landscape contractor to up-sell his landscape installation or maintenance contracts. Abby Farms can help you as we have some knowledge on the subject of phytoremediation plant selection and size of material that will help you get the biggest bang for your buck. The small contractor or the “little guy” can really clean up (no pun intended.) Here is what I mean. These jobs usually require minimal equipment, in most cases, hand tools and a pickup truck. Smaller sized trees and shrubs are the best remediators because younger plants have a higher growth rate, tapering off as they mature, thus doing a better job of decontamination or mitigation depending on the existing site conditions. Understanding conditions and contaminants determines the level of clean up, as certain plants will do certain things. River birch would be a target plant for nickel contaminated sites. It’s a proven fact that river birch needs nickel to reduce the chance of having deformed leaves. Phytotechnologies can be also utilized as a preventive measure, rather than solely a post-remediation tool. Dura heat, heritage or seedling all will work just fine. Abby Farms can help rebuild your soil and supply plants to match some of your needs for a sustainable future.

Partial List of Abby Farms Plants with Phyto Remediation Capabilities

  • Norway Maple
  • Black Alder
  • Big Blue Stem
  • White Birch
  • Hackberry
  • Eastern Redbud
  • Honey Locust
  • Red Cedar
  • Mulberry
  • Switch Grass
  • Loblolly Pine
  • Virginia Pine
  • Bur Oak
  • Willow Oak
  • Black Locust
  • Weeping Willow
  • Chinese Elm
  • Day Lily
  • Dwarf Burford Holly
  • Crape Myrtle
  • Liriope
  • Nandina
  • Chinese Pistache
  • Sweetgum