The Environmental Benefit of Lawns
Up to 90% of the weight of a grass plant is in its roots, making it very efficient in stabilizing the soil and preventing erosion. Soil erosion and runoff has been identified as the number one issue affecting the Chesapeake Bay.
- Healthy, dense lawns can absorb rainfall up to 6 times more effectively than a field of wheat, and 4 times better than a field of hay. This reduces the runoff of water, chemicals and nutrients.
- The cooling effect of an average size lawn is equal to about 9 tons of air conditioning, greater than the central air conditioning unit in a typical home.
- Turf reduces noise levels by as much as 30%.
- Turf grass traps much of an estimated 12 million tons of the dust and dirt released annually into the atmosphere in the U.S.
- Weed-free, well-maintained lawns help reduce pollen sources, providing a safer haven for allergy sufferers.
- A well-groomed lawn and landscape can increase your home resale values by up to 15%.
- A turf area (of just 50 by 50 feet) absorbs carbon dioxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide and other gases, as well as releasing enough oxygen for a family of four.
- Athletic fields covered with natural grass have proven to be safer than those with artificial turf.
- A Gallup Survey reported 62% of all U.S. homeowners felt their investment in lawns and landscaping was as good, or better, than other home improvements.
The Role of the Turf grass Ecosystem
The environment is getting more attention than ever, and especially on protecting water sources from possible contamination. While these concerns are valid, much of the environmental "heat" has been on turf areas, especially golf courses and residential lawns. Many people believe that fertilizers or pesticides applied to lawns will either run-off, or leach and pollute the groundwater, when in reality, the amount of pollution is insignificant in a well-managed turf. Much of this negative publicity results from misinformation or lack of education regarding turf grass ecosystems. This is not to say pesticides and fertilizers don't pose a potential pollution problem. On the contrary, over-fertilization with fast-release fertilizers, and blanket pesticide applications along with other poor management practices can create a major pollution problem. But, these problems typically result when uninformed homeowners or poorly trained professionals attempt to care for a lawn. A knowledgeable homeowner or certified professional – using a balanced, slow-release fertility program, soil testing, aeration, proper mowing and watering practices, and an integrated pest management program – can contribute to the goal of protecting our health, safety and natural resources with a thick, green, weed-free lawn.