The Air Quality Garden
With the spring equinox on March 20, there are only a few weeks left before we move onto a new season. The spring season is a time of growth and new beginnings. Flowers begin blooming, animals awake from hibernation, and North Texans are rejuvenated by all the signs of spring. Before the official start of spring comes the beginning of ozone season. From March through November, the ozone levels affect North Texans’ everyday lives. It is essential that we stay up to date on the ozone levels in our communities, and do our best to support and improve our air quality.
Planting a garden is one of the most popular spring traditions. Although gardens are beautiful, they can do more than just make our front yards look pretty. Plants naturally clean our air and reduce air pollution. Plants absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) and release oxygen during photosynthesis to produce energy for the plant. Some plants even absorb other pollutants such as carbon monoxide, trichloroethylene, and benzene. Most air pollution is directly related to burning fossil fuels from our vehicles and other daily living habits. Burning fossil fuels raises the level of CO2, negatively impacting our air quality. So, if you’ve been contemplating picking up gardening as your new hobby, ozone season is the perfect time to start!
When planting, consider bigger and greener plants, like trees and hedges that will absorb more carbon dioxide. NASA completed a study in 1989 that showed how plants could improve air quality and developed a list of plants that could reduce indoor and outdoor air pollution. Consider choosing the plants below this spring season.
Wild Linden (Tilia Cordata)
The wild linden tree is perfect for gardens and is also great at absorbing CO2. This is a small to medium-sized tree with many small leaves that aid in reducing air pollution.
Azalea Flower The azalea features pink and white hues that look beautiful in any garden. This plant does better in cooler temperatures, so consider keeping it in a pot and transferring in inside when the weather gets too hot in the Texas summers.
Bamboo Palm Bamboo plants are known for cleaning the air. The bamboo palm comes from tropical regions and has long, green leaves that absorb fossil fuels.
Dwarf Date Palm
The dwarf date palm starts off as a small shrub and grows to a large palm tree. This palm would look great in any yard and its extensive leaves help absorb air toxins.
If you are new to gardening or need tips on how to plant or maintain a garden; visit the Better Homes and Gardens website to learn how to get started.
In addition to being a rewarding challenge and aesthetically pleasing, creating a garden can improve air quality and your overall health. Ozone season places high impact on those with health conditions like asthma and lung disease. Young children and the elderly who spend extended amounts of time outside can also be affected. So, if gardening is a hobby you’re interested in, keep these plants in mind this ozone season and help us all breathe a little easier. You can also stay up to date on your local ozone levels by signing up for air pollution alerts here.