A Healthy Lawn Works Hard to Keep You Healthy and Alive
Your turf grass is much more than just pretty ground cover. Your lawn is a working system designed to keep you healthy and care for the environment at the same time. Here is a list of the ways your lawn works and the important jobs it performs to keep you healthy.
- Your lawn makes the air you breathe. A mere 2,500 square feet lawn produces enough oxygen to meet the daily needs of four people. That benefit adds up quickly. For example, the University of Maryland researchers discovered that 1.15 million acres of managed turf grasses can generate enough oxygen to sustain 80 million people. That’s not including the trees and shrubs that beautify our outdoor spaces.
- Your lawn washes the air you breathe. In the United States alone, turf grasses filter an estimated 12 million tons of dust and dirt, along with many common impurities such as carbon dioxide from the air you breathe. Did you ever wonder why the air smells so fresh after a good rain? That’s because grass blades capture air-borne impurities, dew and precipitation, and help move them into the root zone, returning dust and dirt to the soil where microbes help break down pollutants.
- Your lawn fights against pollution. Grass collects and stores carbon that contributes to global warming. The average size lawn (about 10,000 square feet) can store up to 300 pounds of carbon per year. Did you know that leaving grass clippings to decompose on your lawn increases its carbon-storing capacity? If everyone left grass clippings, U.S. lawns could potentially store the equivalent of 37 billion pounds of carbon per year.
Lawn grasses then convert trapped carbon dioxide to a stable form of carbon that’s locked into the soil layer through a process known as carbon sequestration. Rather than being released into the atmosphere and adding to greenhouse gasses, carbon is held in the soil where it eventually converts to organic matter. Pretty cool, huh?
- Your lawn cools your yard and your environment. The surface air temperatures over turf grasses measure virtually 10-14 degrees cooler than the surface air over asphalt or concrete. These cooler air temperatures directly impact the cooling needs of surrounding homes. It has been estimated that eight average healthy front lawns have a cooling impact equal to 70 tons of air conditioning, which is more than enough to offset the heat caused by a/c units. Feeling cooler now?
- Your lawn filters rainwater and improves groundwater quality. Turf grasses and the soil microbes (good bacteria) that exist with them in lawn-like turf settings reduce environmental contamination by purifying water and breaking down pollutants as they move through the root zone. Pollutants in the atmosphere can make rainfall acidic which leads to damages in the environment. Filtering rain water through a healthy lawn can reduce its acidity to one-tenth its original, unfiltered state. This improves the quality of groundwater and reduces contamination of bodies of water, such as rivers and lakes. Don’t you love it when a plan comes together?
- Your healthy lawn reduces runoff and helps recharge underground aquifers. Healthy, established lawns slow the flow of storm water, allowing it to be absorbed into the ground, filtered and returned to aquifers instead of flowing into storm sewers. Dense, healthy lawn grasses allow 15 times less runoff than thin unhealthy lawns, while lush turf is six times more effective in absorbing rain than a field of wheat, known for erosion control. Wow!
- Turf grasses reduce soil erosion caused by water and wind. Healthy turf grasses have extensive root systems which lock soil in place and protect it from loss by wind and water. Nearly 90% of a grass plant’s weight is in its roots, with up to 300 miles of erosion-controlling roots on a single grass plant under optimal conditions. Soil-retaining grass shoots of maintained turf ranges from 30 million to more than 8 billion per acre. Gardens and other healthy, non-grass areas can experience more than 600 times the water erosion of healthy lawns. Let’s keep it together.
- Your healthy lawn makes more dirt. Your lawn continuously makes topsoil by developing, dying off, decomposing and redeveloping. Lawn clippings left to decompose provide nutrients and lead to other benefits. Over time, healthy lawn processes increase activity of beneficial microorganisms in soils, build dark organic matter, and improve soil condition and quality. It’s your lawn’s number one ‘dirty’ job.
- Your healthy lawn helps fight fires. Healthy, well-maintained turf grasses can act as fire retardants and firebreaks, offering significant protection during wildfires. Low-growing healthy grass, such as those in maintained lawns, offers a low hazard with low potential for fueling fires. Does this count on homeowners’ insurance? Just sayin’.
- Your healthy lawn promotes safety. Healthy turf grasses offer soft, cushioned and cool playing surfaces that cause fewer abrasions, injuries and infections, and allow for surer footing than synthetic alternatives. Another added benefit is that healthy grass stimulates the soil bacteria, which in turn helps to sanitize living turf. Dog owners will love this information.
- Your lawn helps buffer against noise pollution. The soft, noise-absorbing surface of grass plants can reduce noise levels in all types of settings, including your home lawn. Turf grasses planted as noise barriers can reduce noise by up to 10 decibels. Turf grasses on highway barrier embankments reduce traffic noise by up to 200% over concrete.
- Your lawn reduces glare that causes vision discomfort. The walls of your home, paved patios, driveway and other non-grass landscapes components, cause glare on sunny days. Soft, variable shapes of grass blades deflect reflected light and reduce glare, making your outdoor space more comfortable and enjoyable. It’s like having built in shades for the yard.
- Healthy grassy areas can instill feelings of safety and may even deter crime.
University of Illinois research conducted in inner-city neighborhoods indicates grassy areas that provide greenery, but still preserve openness, may deter crime. Residents who lived near open grassy areas perceived these areas as safer than other open, non-grassy areas, and they reported feeling safer. Outdoor graffiti, vandalism, littering, violent behavior and violent crimes were reduced in neighborhoods with open grass areas. Nice!
- Healthy grassy outdoor areas can improve physical and mental well-being.
Exposure to healthy outdoor greenery will aid in stress reduction, lower blood pressure, ease muscle tension, improve attention and increase feelings of happiness and serenity. For children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), play in grassy outdoor areas has resulted in significantly better functioning and fewer symptoms than play that occurred without exposure to such spaces. Does your doctor know this?
A healthy, well-maintained lawn is a sound environmental choice, and Vulcan Pest Control is committed to helping you grow a lush, healthy, sustainable lawn that helps make your world a better place. Contact us today for your free 21 point lawn inspection!