How gardening can reduce exposure to air pollution

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Air quality is an issue across the UK that just seems to be getting worse and worse, with this particularly the case when focusing on cities and built-up areas throughout the nation. Early in 2018, The Guardian went as far as to report that it took less than a month for London to reach its legal limit of air pollution for the full year. The same report also had the shocking statistic that close to 40,000 deaths on an annual basis are due to the staggering levels of air pollution which are recorded across the urban areas of the UK.

If you live within a built-up district or a large city, air pollution will no doubt have caused you some concern. Can those who find themselves living in areas such as these be doing more to protect their health and also assist the area where they are based? These four plants known for their air-cleaning properties should certainly help, to begin with…

1.      Why you should grow conifers

Take up the fight against air pollution with the help of some hedges. Homes & Property recommends conifers for the job. Specifically, the western red cedar hedge is named as an ideal conifer to plant in your garden. But if your garden is a little smaller, the publication also names the yew as a great alternative, citing its evergreen nature and easy trimming.

2.      Why you should grow English Ivy

A classic climbing plant is English Ivy. In fact, you might already have the hedera helix climbing up the walls of your house. Though it has a bad reputation in the States as being a weed, it can be a lovely addition to your garden if tended to.

English Ivy provides so many benefits to the air and wildlife alike. Goldsmiths, University of London, states that the wide leaves of the common ivy traps particulates, which makes it a great choice for purifying the air.

3.      Why you should grow gerbera daisies

When you’re looking to introduce greener air throughout your home and its garden, don’t just focus your attention on the colour green. A recent study by NASA has provided a few colourful blooms for gardeners keen to clean the air.

Some bonny and beautiful blooms can be achieved with gerbera daisies. What’s more, they are available in many different colours; white, orange, red, pink — whichever you pick, they’ll give your garden a splash of colour. These flowers love direct sunlight and a bit of space, so make sure not to leave them in a shady corner of your garden. NASA also states that these wonderful flowers are great for dealing with multiple air toxins, such as benzene.

4.      Why you should grow wallflower

After even more colour for your garden? We recommend that you introduce the wallflower, also known as the Erysimum, to your home’s outdoor space. Goldsmiths also names this plant as being akin to the common ivy for its particulate-cleansing power. These flowers have a bright display of petals during the first half of the year. You can grow wallflowers in many colours, with purple and yellow popular choices.

Some other gardening practices to bear in mind

The types of plants that you select for your garden should be just the beginning of your green gardening practices. You have to consider how you are tending to your garden as well. To help, SmilingGardener offers these five great ways to reduce pollution in ways beyond planting shrubs and flowers:

  1. Start composting. You can turn many waste products into compost to stop it going to the landfill, as well as use garden bark mulch to suppress weed growth and feed the topsoil.
  2. Avoid corn gluten meal. SmilingGardener notes this meal is made up from genetically modified corn, so best to stay away from using it, if possible.
  3. Quiet equipment. This one’s more for noise pollution, but it’s certainly an added bonus for the pollution-conscious gardener to take note of!
  4. Stay away from using pesticides. This one is probably a given, but if you can avoid using chemicals on your garden and around your grow your own veg patch, please do.
  5. Consider indoors as well as outdoors. As well as planting outdoor plants to combat air toxicity, consider bringing in some houseplants to cleanse the air in your home.

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