We know that landscaping adds beauty and gardening can provide great vegetables. However, the work you do with your landscape and garden can be much more rewarding.
Think about the following:
• Plants protect water quality. Proper landscaping reduces nitrate leaching from the soil into the water supply. Plants also reduce surface water runoff, keeping phosphorous and other pollutants out of our waterways.
• Proper landscaping reduces soil erosion. A dense cover of plants and mulch holds soil in place, keeping sediment out of lakes, streams and stormdrains.
• Plants improve air quality. One tree can remove 26 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Landscape plants, including shrubs and turf, remove smoke, dust and other pollutants from the air.
• Landscaping lowers summer air temperatures. According to the EPA, urban forests reduce urban air temperatures significantly by shading heat sinks such as buildings and concrete, and returning humidity to the air through evaporative cooling. Trees shading homes can reduce attic temperatures as much as 40 degrees.
• Gardening is excellent physical exercise. Routine gardening tasks such as shoveling, rototilling, and even mowing grass with a push-type, reel lawn mower can measure up to the exertion rates of jogging, bicycling or aerobics.
• Gardens produce healthy food. Fresh food from the garden can have up to three times as many vitamins and minerals as canned or frozen food.
• Landscaping conserves natural resources. Properly placed deciduous trees reduce house temperatures in the summer allowing air conditioning units to run more efficiently, but allow the sun to warm the house in the winter. Homes sheltered by evergreen windbreaks can reduce winter heat loss and are generally warmer than homes without such protection. By using trees to modify temperatures and protect against wind, the amount of fossil fuels used for cooling and heating is reduced.
• Landscaping increases property market value. An attractive landscape increases the value of a home. Investment in a well-designed landscape will make your house more marketable.
For additional information on landscaping, contact the Dawson County Extension Office at (706) 265-2442.
Clark Beusse is the Dawson County extension agent. For more information, call (706) 265-2442.