Carbon absorption

How much carbon do typical garden plants absorb?

It’s well known that plants provide diverse habitats for wildlife, but they also capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into carbon for creating their leaves, branches, and roots. In creating a garden, we create opportunities to off-set our carbon emissions and take part in mitigating climate change.

Here’s our quick reference to carbon absorption and storage to help you plant for the future:

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5 - 50kg

Small Shrubs

Can absorb and store between 5 to 50kg of carbon over their lifetime. Good examples are Hebe, Euonymus, Azaleas, Spirea and Juniper.

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50 - 500kg

Large Shrubs

Can absorb and store between 50 to 500kg of carbon over their lifetime. Great examples include
Camellia, Viburnum, Ceanothus, Pittosporum and Rhododendron.

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500 - 7,000kg

Trees

Can absorb and store between 500 to 7000kg of carbon over their lifetime, although garden trees are limited to around 3000kg. Great examples include Fruit trees, Acers, Prunus, Liquid Amber, Pine and Birch.

Soils

Soils are an untapped resource for gardeners as plants can transport carbon into them through photosynthesis. Often referred to as Carbon Sequestration, this process can store carbon underground for several decades.

In addition, gardeners can add a wood-derived charcoal called Biochar, which creates opportunities for improving soil life. Retaining much of the open capillary structure of the original wood, Biochar has a huge surface area, which acts as a conduit for air, water, nutrients and soil biology.

Lastly, gardeners can make their own compost, which is recycling existing carbons, to act as a soil improver or mulch.

Read more about how to make great compost with our handy guide.

For more information

For novel ways to carbon credit score plants, visit the pioneering work of Barcham Trees.

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Look out for our green gardening badge in our centres.