Gardening is not an environmentally friendly activity by default, according to new research from the University of Reading, the University of Sheffield and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).
Instead, the environment is something green-fingered individuals need to consciously take into account in order to reduce producing excess greenhouse gas emissions.
Indeed, many staples of the outdoor pastime can be very damaging – including lawn mowing and the use of pesticides.
Eco-conscious gardeners are said to be turning away from petrol-powered mowers in order to reduce their carbon footprint, as this could see them trim 36kg from their annual CO2 output.
Peat is also a problem, as it is associated with the destruction of an animal’s habitat and massive carbon emissions – with half a million tons produced in the UK in one year being the equivalent to the output of 100,000 cars.
Gardeners looking to take advantage of the benefits offered by this solution who wish to reduce their carbon output can consider one of the many more environmentally-friendly alternatives.
Mulching is one such action, which involves the recycling of garden waste and layering the substance that is created around the soil at the base of a plant.
This can also help plants retain water, which is a very important consideration to take into account when preparing for dry conditions in summer.
The study – entitled The Domestic Garden – Its Contribution to Urban Green Infrastructure – asserts it is essential gardeners become more eco-conscious, as green spaces are increasingly being seen as a luxury in times of high urbanisation.
Indeed, it was suggested there are significant differences in the management of urban and rural gardens.
The concept of inherent benefits was by no means completely refuted, as gardens improve localized air cooling and can mitigate climate risks such as flooding, in addition to providing vital living spaces for an array of different wild creatures.
Dr Tijana Blanusa, senior horticultural scientist at the RHS and one of the authors of the report, told British national newspaper the Independent she hopes the report will be used as a springboard to increase awareness of the importance of environmental concerns.
“With the findings of this report in mind, the RHS will continue to work closely with gardeners, horticultural trade and horticultural researchers to minimise potential negative impacts and ensure that gardeners get the most out of their gardens without costing the Earth,” she told the news provider.