Time to plant a breath of fresh air

Autumn is a brilliant time to plant trees, there is enough warmth and soil moisture to get them established before winter. But more than improving the aesthetic of the garden or local waste ground/school frontage/park/community space, they improve our wellbeing.

We know that trees absorb carbon dioxide and provide oxygen, that trees are the lungs of the world. So planting a tree is good for your local air quality but trees can also help our lungs to better cope with air pollution – Not just absorbing Co2 but by absorbing emissions from car fumes and local industries. Trees also capture dust and particulates from the atmosphere – preventing them entering our lungs.

A research paper published in Environmental pollution back in 2014 found that a 10-by-10 kilometre space with 25 percent tree cover in London had the capacity to remove more than 90 tons of particulate matter annually. The impact of which to local inhabitants was considered to be the avoidance of two deaths and at least two less hospital admissions per annum.

Streets line with tress are 50-60% lower in particular matter than those without. So while any tree in your front garden will soak up the pollution on your road. My favourite is our native silver birch (Betula pendula), it’s a shallow rooter so wont expose the drains in a few years’ time, it is airy so it won’t shade out your home or garden and it can be purchased in exquisite multi-stemmed varieties that can be top pruned to maintain a great shape.

Best of all birch foliage is covered in ridges and upon closer inspection tiny hairs too – all of which efficiently trap the maximum of pollution particles. Rainfall disperses any pollutants not absorbed to the ground where it is washed into the soil and tackled by the roots, leaving the leaves cleaned and reset to trap the next batch.

It is interesting to remember that Birch trees symbolise rebirth and rejuvenation and that In Irish folklore birch is considered protective against evil spirits and the evil eye – who knew just how protective?

To discover more about the healing of nature and the nature of healing, join me at the Vitality – 8th & 9th September 2018, RDS Dublin. Opening Hours: 10:00 – 17:00. To book a ticket or see more of what is on offer visit https://www.vitalityexpo.ie/

About The Holistic Gardener

author of wellness books, columnist, keynote speaker.
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