Help preserve our planet, one landscape at a time | Chroniclers
Phyllis Webster earned a journalism degree before embarking on a long career in public relations and marketing. A resident of Granbury since 1998, she has been deeply involved in the community. She is an award-winning writer and photographer, as well as a master gardener. She has been the author of Garden Patch since 2001.
The news is filled with stories of climate change – rising oceans, dying coral reefs, burning rainforests and melting glaciers. It is overwhelming. And it is depressing. No one likes change, especially at this level, but ignoring weather conditions won’t make them go away. And letting them become fodder for political debate accomplishes even less.
In 2022, let’s aim to save the planet one landscape at a time. No matter what the cause of the erratic weather is, we have to adapt. First, we can adopt practices that cause less damage to the environment. And second, we must learn how to best survive the effects.
Plants are an essential resource as they support life on Earth by releasing oxygen into the atmosphere through photosynthesis, absorbing carbon dioxide, providing habitat and food for wildlife and humans, etc. . Land and ocean plants provide the air we breathe. These plants are also “carbon sinks” because of their ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the air. In Texas, grasslands, forests, wetlands and coastal ecosystems act as natural sinks.
About 10 percent of the humidity in the atmosphere is released by plants. Plants absorb water through their roots and release water through small pores on the underside of their leaves. Through this transpiration process, plants circulate soil water through the atmosphere, forming clouds and then producing rain. Plants also stabilize soil and water bodies, helping to keep their ecosystems intact.
Adding plants to our domestic landscapes can therefore play a role in protecting the planet. However, the choice of plants and the way we care for them seriously affect the environment. Native plants support native wildlife, require less care in the form of fertilizers and pesticides, and generally need less water when they are well established.
Growing your own fruits and vegetables means you’ll be making fewer trips to the supermarket. Adding trees and tall shrubs creates shade, which helps cool homes. And growing native herbs, wildflowers and perennials supports pollinators, which are essential for successful food crop growth.
Minimizing lawns reduces mower emissions and reduces the use of water and chemicals. Maintaining efficient irrigation systems also saves water. Drip irrigation is ideal because it minimizes air loss and maintains moisture where it is needed – at the roots.
Other practices that have a positive effect on the environment include creating rain gardens to redirect and store runoff water, harvesting rainwater, using compost heaps to recycle food and garden waste, installing green roofs and reusing grass clippings and dead leaves as mulch and natural fertilizers.
For answers to your horticultural questions, please call the Texas AgriLife Extension, Hood County at 817-579-3280 or go online to visit lacgranburymastergardeners.org.
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