By Paula Henson

Have you sequestered your carbon today? Do you even know how to sequester carbon at home? Or where to do it? A garden produces oxygen, grows food, provides shade and all those other amazing things that gardens do. It can also keep that nasty carbon dioxide away from our atmosphere, at least for a while.

The plants themselves, as well as the soil they’re growing in, can reign in carbon. But we don’t usually look at, or even notice, our soil. Dr. Christine Jones, Australian soil scientist states, “If you could see what happens around the roots of actively growing plants, you would want to have as many green plants in your soil for as much of the year as possible.”

Plants need carbon dioxide in order to grow. As we know, they in turn provide us with oxygen. Woody plants (especially trees) take carbon out of the air (during photosynthesis), keep it locked up and release it slowly, so its impact is minimized. How much? Well, it depends on several factors, but the dry wood in trees can be around 50% carbon. So yes, the more plants the better!

The soil is also a receptacle for CO2. Soils store one-third of the carbon on Earth Scientific American. In fact, according to the UN “Organically managed soils can convert carbon dioxide from a greenhouse gas into a food-producing asset. Combined with sequestration in non-agricultural soil, the potential for land to hold carbon and act as a sink for greenhouse gases is unparalleled”.

So what can you do in the campaign to sequester carbon? Plant more plants! And natives are best…why fight what nature wants? And stop treating your soil like dirt–get out there and sequester some carbon!


About the Author: Paula Henson is an Award-winning landscape designer who started Terra Bella Landscape Design in 1998.  A Los Angeles native, she enjoys the unique opportunity to create something that is constantly evolving. The 2007 Los Angeles Garden Show featured one of her designs and she received the “Best Use of Recycled Materials” award for excellence in the 2007 Showcase at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills.

She has been featured on HGTV’s Landscaper’s Challenge, has appeared in several award-winning educational DVD programs and served as Vice President of the Board of Governors for the Los Angeles County Commission on Arboreta and Botanic Gardens.   She has been a certified Landscape Professional for the city of Santa Monica Sustainable Landscape Program and is currently on the Board of the Greater Los Angeles district of the APLD. Most recently she has been concentrating on water conservation education and rainwater harvesting system.