Justin White, Landscaping Course | Environmental Allied Additions for Landscaping – Santa Cruz Sentinel

As landscapers, the great outdoors are our sacred realm and we have a responsibility to help care for them. Gardening and land management can be a corrective hobby for some, but it can also be a practical way to help the environment. Producing more green materials will help purify the air, reduce pollution, and generate pollination, resulting in a happier, cleaner planet. There are many types of beneficial plants and trees that support the health of our Earth, but here are a few favorites that do well in our Central Coast climate. Consider including more of these “green” options when planning your next outdoor space.

There are many types of beneficial plants and trees that promote the health of our Earth. (Contributed)


Fragrant and beautiful, lavender is a lush addition to any home or garden. It attracts beneficial insects, butterflies and bees, making it a valuable choice for pollination. Place this purple flowering plant near gardens where bees and other pollinators cannot resist its charm. The herb is also well known for its medicinal benefits, including its soothing, calming, and healing properties. Hardy to warmer climates, lavender thrives here in California and is easy to care for, requiring mostly sun and proper drainage.


The larger the “plant”, the more carbon dioxide it can absorb and therefore the more oxygen it can release into the air. However, the larger the “plant”, the more dangerous it can be. Eucalyptus trees are here in abundance, whether we like it or not, so let’s start tending and caring for them proactively and conscientiously. Near the top of the list of carbon dioxide absorbers are eucalyptus trees which store about 70 pounds of CO2 per year! Established in the Santa Cruz region in the late 1800s, the eucalyptus has become one of the most common trees on our coastline.

coastal redwood

This infamous western tree is a great addition to any California home. Sequoias, known as the tallest trees on Earth, can grow up to 350 feet in the wild and have an average lifespan of 600 years. Surpassing eucalyptus, studies have shown that redwoods capture more carbon dioxide from power plants, cars, and trucks than any other type of tree on earth. The more CO2 they devour, the more they help fight climate change and improve our breathing air.

Trees can also contribute to air quality by providing shady surfaces and cooler temperatures. If a home or building benefits from shade from surrounding trees, it can reduce the need for conventional air conditioning and the accompanying gas emissions.

Even though Earth Day has just passed, don’t let that stop you from making an impact throughout the year. Contribute to our ecosystem by making conscious landscaping choices that will benefit our earth for years to come!

Justin White is the CEO of K&D Landscaping, headquartered in Watsonville, Calif., and was voted “2020 Company of the Year” by the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce. White is also the current president of the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA) local chapter on the Central Coast. He is involved in several non-profit organizations in the community. For more information on landscaping, outdoor and garden needs, contact K&D Landscaping at kndlandscaping.com.

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