Ozone Gardens

Tulip
Signs of ozone damage on a tulip poplar, courtesy of Robert Anderson, Bugwood, UGA

Late spring is the perfect time to start a garden filled with ozone-sensitive plants and natives that are beneficial to pollinators.

Your garden can tell you about the air you breathe because, like people, plants need clean air, too. Some plants can even tell you when they have been exposed to air pollution. With a few carefully selected plants, some water and sunshine, you can create your own ozone garden that will help you learn more about the air quality in your neighborhood. Continue reading “Ozone Gardens”

Ozone Season is Here

Here’s a chemistry question for you: Mix nitrogen oxides (NOx) with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), then add heat and sunlight.  What do you get? Ground-level ozone, a potent pollutant that can seriously impact air quality, human health, and even plants.

Warmer weather means a return to ozone season – the time of the year when ground-level ozone is most likely to form in the lower atmosphere.  Like the ozone that protects earth from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation, ground-level ozone is a molecule composed of three oxygen atoms (O3).  But unlike the protective ozone layer, ground-level ozone occurs in the lower atmosphere, where humans live, work, and play.  A good way to remember the difference: Ozone is good up high, but bad nearby. Continue reading “Ozone Season is Here”