Particulate matter (PM) is one of the most serious environmental problems, exacerbating respiratory and vascular illnesses. Plants have the ability to reduce non-point source PM pollution through retention on leaves and branches. Studies of the dynamic processes of PM retention by plants and the mechanisms influencing this process will help to improve the efficiency of urban greening for PM reduction. We examined dynamic processes of PM retention and the major factors influencing PM retention by six trees with different branch structure characteristics in wind tunnel experiments at three different wind speeds. The results showed that the changes of PM numbers retained by plant leaves over time were complex dynamic processes for which maximum values could exceed minimum values by over 10 times. The average value of PM measured in multiple periods and situations can be considered a reliable indicator of the ability of the plant to retain PM. The dynamic processes were similar for PM10 and PM2.5. They could be clustered into three groups simulated by continually-rising, inverse U-shaped, and U-shaped polynomial functions, respectively. The processes were the synthetic effect of characteristics such as species, wind speed, period of exposure and their interactions. Continually-rising functions always explained PM retention in species with extremely complex branch structure. Inverse U-shaped processes explained PM retention in species with relatively simple branch structure and gentle wind. The U-shaped processes mainly explained PM retention at high wind speeds and in species with a relatively simple crown. These results indicate that using plants with complex crowns in urban greening and decreasing wind speed in plant communities increases the chance of continually-rising or inverse U-shaped relationships, which have a positive effect in reducing PM pollution.
Environmental Pollution – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 2018
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