Environmental Benefits of Natural Turf Grass
Across the country Americans love their lawns. However, many are unaware of all the environmental benefits of natural turf grass. Others may overlook or take these benefits for granted. Even the Environmental Protection Agency appears to undervalue turf grass. Yet the following list of environmental, community and human health, and economic benefits should remind us that lawns on residential and commercial properties and natural turf grass in our parks and on our sports fields not only provide aesthetic value, they:
Recharge and Filter Groundwater and Capture Nutrients
“An acre of turfgrass left in open space provides an average of 600,000 gallons of water recharge per year.”- Horton, T. 1988. “Presenting a Case for Golf Courses”. Golf Course Management 56(5):76, 78.
“Turf systems are not only efficient at catching and filtering water, but are also very efficient at holding on to nutrients. Nutrients like phosphorus are fixed onto soil particles or taken up by the plant and they do not leach out readily.” - Sherratt, P. 2011. Benefits of Turf. The Ohio State University
Retain and Sequester Carbon and Produce Oxygen
“Well managed lawns sequester, or store, significant amounts of carbon, capturing four times more carbon from the air than is produced by the engine of today’s lawnmowers.”- Sahu, R. 2008. “Technical Assessment of the Carbon Sequestration Potential of Managed Turfgrass in the United States”
“Carbon storage in turf is comparable to the rate of carbon storage in land situated in the Conservation Reserve Program. A practical example of carbon sequestration is that one soccer field can offset the carbon produced by a car driving 3,000 miles.” - Sherratt, P. 2011. Benefits of Turf. The Ohio State University
“Grass takes in carbon dioxide, ozone, hydrogen fluoride, and peroxyacetyl nitrate – the worst group of atmospheric pollutants – and returns the true breath of life: pure oxygen.”- Baker, J. 1987. Jerry Baker’s Lawn Book. Ballantine Books, NY.
“A turf area 50’ x 50’ produces enough oxygen to meet the needs of a family of 4.” - Huffine, W. and F. Grau. 1969. “History of Turf Usage”. American Society of Agronomy Monograph 14. Pages 2, 3, 6-8.
“The grass and trees along our country’s interstate system produce enough oxygen to support 22 million people.” - Baker, J. 1987. Jerry Baker’s Lawn Book. Ballantine Books, NY.
Control Soil Erosion & Restore Soil Quality
“Turfgrass roots penetrate into the soil and hold particles so they are not lost by wind and water erosion. One single grass plant grown under ideal conditions has 387 miles of roots.” - Brown, Lauren. 1979. (Grasses: An Identification Guide). Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, MA. Page 6.
“A high proportion of the world’s most fertile soils has been developed under a vegetative cover of grass.” - Gould, F.W. 1968. Grass systematics. McGraw-Hill, New York.
“It is estimated that more than 6761 kg of root biomass per hectare of lawn is turned over into the soil each year.” - Falk, J.H. 1976. Energetics of a suburban lawn ecosystem. Ecology. 57:141-150.
Dissipate Heat & Cool the Environment
“On a block of eight average houses, front lawns have the cooling effect of about 70 tons of air conditioning.” - Baker, J. 1987. Jerry Baker’s Lawn Book. Ballantine Books, NY.
Provide a Safe Playing Surface & Reduces Injuries
“Turfgrasses provide a unique, low-cost cushioning effect that reduces injuries to the participants when compared with poorly or nonturfed soils, particularly in the more active contact sports like football, rugby, and soccer.” - Gramckow, J. 1968. Athletic field quality studies. Cal-Turf Inc., Camarillo, CA.
Diminish Noise Pollution
“Grasses, as well as other ornamentals, reduce undesirable noise levels by 20-30%.”- Robey, M.J. 1977. Lawns. David Mckay Co., Inc. New York. Pages 2,5.
“If a grassy turf is planted on a barrier slope facing the noise source, reduction of noise can be as much as 8-10 decibels.” - Robinette, G. 1972. Plants, People and Environmantal Quality. U.S. Department of the Interior in collaboration with American Society of Landscape Architects Foundation. Pages 42-50, 89-, 96,97.
Minimize Nuisance Pests
“A lawn mowed a 1-2 inches is not a safe home for many small animals and they will seek taller cover.” - Engel, R. 1980. “Why Turf is Needed”. Green World. New Jersey Turfgrass Association 10(2):4-5.
Preserve Natural Wildlife Habitat
“Lawns serve as a source of food for birds.” - Robey, M.J. 1977. Lawns. David Mckay Co., Inc. New York. Pages 2,5.
Serve as a Fire Barrier
“Healthy green turf will not sustain fire as dense woody vegetation does, thus a buffer zone of well-maintained turfgrass around a building is a good insurance.”- Flynn, L.T. 1987. Lawn Care Chemicals: What Consumers Should Know. A report by the American Council of Science and Health, Summit, NJ. Page 26.
Boost Human Productivity
“A turfed landscape area surrounding a factory or business is an asset in conveying a favorable we care impression to employees and the general public. These employees have lower levels of perceived job stress.” - Kaplan, R. and S. Kaplan. 1989. The experience of nature. Cambridge Univ. Press, New York.
Create Jobs and Economic Benefit
There were nearly 100,000 firms in the Landscaping services sector in the U.S. in 2007. Direct employment was 631,511 jobs with a total payroll of 19.13 Billion dollars. Landscape services and design accounted for 54.5 Billion dollars in value added. - Alan W. Hodges, A., Hall, C., Palma,M. “Economic Contributions of the Green Industry in the United States, 2007” Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Directors
Increase Property Values
“A lawn is at least 1/3 of the entire picture of the house. The first thing people see when approaching a property is the yard so it gives that important first impression and can convey hospitality and warmth.” - Lawn_and_Sports_Turf_Benefits.pdf
“Green is a color that also affects people’s moods. It has been linked with having a calm, peaceful and serene influence. The natural green color gives a feeling of coolness which, in addition to the actual temperature modification of turfgrasses, makes the yard a pleasant place.” - Lawn_and_Sports_Turf_Benefits.pdf
Lower Allergy Related Problems
“Mown turf helps control dust, pollen from weeds and grasses, seeds, spores, and biting and stinging insects.” - Lawn_and_Sports_Turf_Benefits.pdf
“Glare and reflection can be screened or softened by plants used in a variety of ways to block, filter, or intercept glare and reflection.” - Lawn_and_Sports_Turf_Benefits.pdf