The Lungs Of Our Towns

March 6, 2012

Not only can trees, shrubs and plants serve an ornamental purpose; they can also have important functional uses as well. With most front gardens being close to roads, our plants need to be able to cope with a great deal of pollution.

Careful planting with the appropriate plants can be beneficial and helping to alter the microclimate around our homes.

With many of our gardens being exposed to traffic pollution, with the right type of planting a more pleasant environment can be created. Also, with regards to traffic pollution, it’s worth remembering that grassed areas will take in twice the amount of pollution than that of soil and that lawns also absorb noise pollution as well.

Deciduous trees and shrubs will cope with the effects of pollution better than evergreen plants as they renew their foliage each year. Also deciduous plants are better as they will allow more daylight into the property during the darker winter months, thus also improving the security aspect of our homes.

There are particularly good varieties or trees that will tolerate air pollution. If you’re considering planting a tree, do make sure that you check what height the mature tree will reach as it may outgrow the space in your garden.

The Amelanchier laevis, is a super tree that gives all year round interest. In spring it has clusters of white flowers and the foliage starts of bronze in spring and then changes to green in summer and then red or orange in autumn. It has a moderate growth of up to 20 ft.

Other trees of about the same mature height that tolerate pollution are Crataegus laevigata ‘Paul’s Scarlet’ with lovely clusters of double red flowers or the attractive tapering chain of yellow flowers of the Laburnum x waterei ‘Vossii’.

There are several shrubs that are particularly good in surviving pollution from the exhausts of vehicles, such as the yellow flowering Forsythia, the Hypericum ‘Hycote’, Mahonia aquifolium ‘Smaragd’ and the Brachglottis ‘Sunshine’. Remember that by planting trees, you can also help screen out pollution to plants growing underneath.

Our parks are often referred to as the “lungs of our towns” as the trees, plants and shrubs take in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen. So plants and gardens are not only for decorative enjoyment but they also serve a very important part in the environment of our towns and cities.

Well, that’s it for this chilly winter week.



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