Black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta) is one of the species that the National Park Service has identified as ozone-sensitive.
Make observations of ozone damage in your neighborhood!
The first way to get involved is to make observations and take pictures of suspected ozone damage on plants in your neighborhood. It takes only a few steps to determine if your plants have ozone damage.
- Identify the species. Not every species is sensitive to ozone damage, and some species are more sensitive than others.
- Check this list of recognized ozone-sensitive species for your plant.
- Carefully examine the bottom (older) leaves on the plant for ozone damage. Ozone damage appears as purple spotting or "stippling" on the top surface of the leaf only.
NOAA map of ozone concentrations in the Washington, D.C. area for August 8, 2006.
Cut-leaf coneflower (Rudbeckia lacinata) produce yellow flowers during the summer months.
Plant your own ozone garden
If you are curious about ozone sensitive plants and plan on making regular observations, you can start your own ozone garden. All you need is space, some ozone sensitive plants, and a green thumb! Follow these simple steps to make your own ozone garden.
Determine the size of your garden. How much space do you have? Ozone gardens can range from a single plant in a pot to an entire yard full of ozone sensitive species.
- Select the location for your garden. Determine the hours of direct sunlight needed for the species you plan to grow, and site your garden accordingly.
- Choose which plants you would like to keep in your garden. Plants that are native to your geographic location will most likely be the most successful. Start by examining the National Park Service's list for plants in your area.
- Plant your garden and watch your plants grow! Start watching for signs of ozone damage as soon as your plants begin to sprout leaves. Over time and depending on your geographic location, your plants may begin to show signs of ozone damage right away.
- As growing season progresses, keep a watchful eye on your plants. The recommended minimum observation period is one week. The more you check your plants, the more detailed information you will gather on your plants' progression. Once you start observing your plants, keep an eye on
the air quality forecasts for your area. The damage on an ozone sensitive plant will be worse after a poor air quality day.
Take scientific data of ozone protocol plants!
The Aura ozone monitoring garden was inspired by a program called Hands on the Land (HoL). You can receive training from Aura education personnel and be able to submit data as part the HoL network.