En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - February 13, 2007

From: Propsect Park, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Managing Roadsides
Title: Roadside plants as absorbers of carbon dioxide
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

If plants absorb carbon dioxide why aren't they on a list of things to do to combat Global Warming? If we had more plants on the sides of our roads and highways would it help?

ANSWER:

In the normal cycle of life, plants absorb and store carbon dioxide while growing and release it back into the atmosphere during the decaying process after death. Research has long shown that forests are important "sinks" for carbon dioxide; that is, they store large amounts of the gas due to their large size and long lives. More recent research has indicated that grasslands may also be important carbon dioxide sinks.

Other than in some desert areas, most roadsides are well-populated with plants - primarily grasses - that certainly use and store significant amounts of CO2. The roads themselves and other developed areas are a separate issue, but in general, US roadsides are probably already absorbing about as much CO2 as they can. Large-scale foresting of our roadsides probably wouldn't be a practical solution for reasons ofpublic safety.

 

More Managing Roadsides Questions

Suggestions for street trees for Texarkana TX
July 23, 2013 - Texarkana, TX, is going to replace a few and add some new street trees downtown. The engineers specified crape myrtle. When I asked if they would consider native trees instead, I was told they thought...
view the full question and answer

Information on wildflower programs in cities and states
April 06, 2005 - I am moving to a new town in a few weeks and am interested in starting a program to beautify the community using wildflowers. I've been interested in this for quite some time, but the opportunity ha...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers being mowed in Canyon TX
June 03, 2012 - Can I receive a letter from someone there to put up in our neighborhood? I live in an area very close to Palo Duro Canyon. A developer out here mows down the wildflowers along the one lane road. It ...
view the full question and answer

Prairie Paintbrush and Managing Roadsides
April 26, 2005 - I have been visiting a piece of land beside I-35 for quite a few years now.  It is home to tons of different plants, but it really has a fantastic show of Prairie Paintbrush - the multicolored ones, n...
view the full question and answer

Rescue of roadside plants in Ashe Co.
October 27, 2011 - I live in a wooded area off of a dirt road that is going to be widened and paved by the state. There are many native plants and shrubs growing on the side of the road in areas that will soon be pavem...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center