As plants photosynthesize and grow, they take up molecules of carbon dioxide gas.
The carbon and oxygen atoms that make up carbon dioxide are used to build the many
parts of all plant cells. In this way, carbon is taken out of the atmosphere and
accumulated in plant systems. This carbon storage (sequestration) involves leaves,
stems, and roots of all plants, trunks of trees, and the soil when dead plant parts
are deposited there.
In home landscapes, trees and turfgrasses are two types of plants that may store
significant amounts of carbon. This calculation tool will use measurements that
you make in your yard to estimate the total amount of carbon being stored.
Estimates in the calculator are based on averages of data that are currently available.
Scientists and industry are continuing to assess carbon release and storage processes,
so calculations of carbon footprints may become more precise in the future. Many
factors influence the exact amount of carbon that is taken up by a plant. Some tree
species, for example, inherently grow and accumulate carbon faster than others.
Turfgrass tends to accumulate carbon more quickly when it is first planted than
when it is well-established. And of course, plants that are healthy and growing
will store more carbon than those that are not.