It is the season of gifts. Both in giving and receiving. Let’s for a moment focus on the receiving. Horticulture benefits the wealth and health of every citizen and every community. Here are just a few of the gifts we receive from plants.

Trees and other plants reduce storm water damage to the community. They absorb and recycle water into the atmosphere through transpiration. One large tree can capture and filter up to 36,500 gallons of water per year. That one tree can absorb 36% of the rainfall per event. Plants anchor the soil and filter out pollutants, giving us clean water.

Gardening connects us with nature that will restore our spirits and make us feel good about ourselves. Working with plants tends to divert one’s attention from other trials and tribulations of life, which is particularly important this past year. It affords people the opportunity to achieve a level of serenity and enjoyment that often escapes us in or technologically-based society.

A mature leafy tree generates as much oxygen in a single season as 10 people inhale in a year. Plants purify the air, remove pollutants, which are both seen and unseen. One hundred trees can remove two tons of carbon dioxide from the air annually.

Eating fresh vegetables and fruits is known to be important for good health. Some suggest it slows the aging process. The availability of fresh produce from the garden is conducive to maintaining good dietary habits.

Our homes represent 25% of our personal wealth. Well-landscaped homes are more valuable. A 25-foot tree reduces annual heating and cooling costs for typical homes by 8 to 12%.

The National Gardening Association estimates that a well-maintained vegetable garden yields an average return of $500 per year.

After opening your wrapped gifts this year, give thanks to the plants around you that share their gifts each and every day.

For additional information on a horticulture topic, please visit or contact Gregg Eyestone at the Riley County office of K-State Research and Extension. Gregg may be contacted by calling 537-6350, stopping by 110 Courthouse Plaza in Manhattan or e-mailing

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