Looking out your window at healthy lawns, trees and flowers is a great way to boost your happiness quotient. It’s also a perfect opportunity to remember all the ways plants benefit our environment. The next time you look around at the plants you call your own, know that they’re helping the earth in these five ways and more:
1. Plants improve air quality. You may already know that plants, from lawn grass to ornamental grasses to towering trees, absorb carbon from the atmosphere and produce oxygen for humans and other living things to breathe. But on top of that, plants in your gardens and landscape also absorb particles that pollute the air and cause health hazards. Plants enhance air quality by absorbing odors, too.
2. Plants improve water quality. Lawns, landscapes and other green spaces around our homes help keep rainwater out of storm sewers and reroute it to recharge our aquifers instead. From flowering hydrangeas to colorful dogwoods, your plants absorb water through their leaves and their roots, filtering out pollutants as they do. That means less runoff in general and cleaner stormwater moving through water treatment systems.
3. Plants reduce energy consumption. Lower energy consumption helps your environment and your pocketbook, too. Planting magnificent shade maples or other plants around your home can significantly lower the amount you spend on both heating and cooling. During summer months, leafy trees and shrubs block the sun’s heat to keep your home cooler. During winter, evergreens shelter your home from cold winds and help maintain its warmth naturally.
4. Plants reduce soil erosion. When heavy rainfall washes soil away, water quality takes a hit. When strong winds eat away at soil, air quality suffers. From garden flowers to low-maintenance groundcovers and healthy well-maintained lawns, landscape plants and their roots protect against erosion by holding soil in place. This also helps keep soil nutrients where they belong so plants and soil both stay healthy.
5. Plants enhance biodiversity. Enjoying a diversity of wildlife in your backyard — from pollinating bees to happy hummingbirds — depends on providing a welcoming habitat for all the beneficial insects, wildlife and humans that coexist in your yard. The environment you create with native plants and non-natives provide the shelter, safety and sustenance these diverse creatures need to call it home.
When you beautify your world with plants, you win and the environment wins, too. Shop our plants online for winning combinations to make your landscape dreams come true. Or stop in at Winterland Nursery, our Madison, WI-area retail garden center, to see what’s new. And don’t forget to join in the social fun on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, too!