1. Lawns purify air and improve air quality.
Turf grasses in the United States annually cleanse the air of an estimated 12 million tons of dust and dirt, along with many common impurities such as carbon dioxide. Once grass blades capture air-borne impurities, dew and precipitation help move them into the root zone, where dust and dirt return to the soil and soil microbes help break pollutants down.
2. Lawns trap and store carbon that might otherwise contribute to global warming.
U.S. lawns capture about 5% of the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year. A healthy, average-size U.S. lawn (about 5,000 square feet) collects and stores up to 150 pounds of carbon per year. Grass clippings left to decompose on lawns improves their carbon-storing capacity, giving U.S. lawns the potential to store the equivalent of 37 billion pounds of carbon per year.
3. Lawns generate significant amounts of life-supporting oxygen.
A 50-square-foot lawn — just 2,500 square feet — produces enough oxygen to meet the daily oxygen needs of four people. That benefit adds up quickly. University of Maryland researchers estimated the state’s 1.15 million acres of managed turf grasses in 2005 generated enough oxygen for 80 million people.
4. Lawn’s cool themselves and their surroundings, reducing home cooling needs.
Lawns offset 50% of solar heat through cooling evaporation. On sunny days, surface air temperatures over lawns stay 10° to 14° Fahrenheit cooler than over asphalt or concrete. Cooler air temperatures directly impact cooling needs of surrounding homes.
In contrast, surface temperatures of artificial turf can measure 37° Fahrenheit higher than asphalt, and more than 86° Fahrenheit higher than natural grass under the same conditions. Eight average natural front lawns have an estimated cooling impact equal to 70 tons of air conditioning.
5. Lawns purify rainwater and improve groundwater quality.
Turf grasses and the soil microbes that exist with them reduce environmental contamination by purifying water and breaking down pollutants as they move through the root zone. Pollutants in the atmosphere can make rainfall so acidic it damages the environment. However, 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.
6. Natural turf 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.4 Dense, healthy lawn grasses allow 15 times less runoff than thin, unhealthy lawns, and lush turf is six times more effective in absorbing rain than a field of wheat, know for erosion control.
7. Turf grasses reduce soil erosion caused by water and wind.
Extensive root systems on turf grasses lock soil in place and protect it from loss by wind and water. An estimated 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 natural, non-grass areas can experience more than 600 times the water erosion of natural lawns.
8. Natural lawns and lawn clippings increase beneficial soil activity, recondition soil and improve soil quality.
Lawn clippings left to naturally decompose provide nutrients and lead to other benefits. Over the course of a growing season, clippings from a healthy, 1,000-square-foot Kentucky bluegrass lawn equate to about three lawn fertilizer applications. Overtime, natural lawn processes increase activity of beneficial microorganisms in soils, build dark organic matter and improve soil condition and quality.
9. Natural turf provides a safe, resilient, clean surface for recreation.
Natural turf grasses offer soft, cushioned and cool playing surfaces that cause fewer abrasions, injuries and infections, and allow for surer footing than synthetic alternatives. Artificial turf can need irrigation to reduce high surface temperatures to safe recreational levels. In addition, synthetic turf playing fields require chemical disinfection, but soil bacteria naturally sanitize living turf.
10. Natural turf grasses absorb sound and reduce 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.
Nuleaf Lawn Care is here to help you create a lawn that contributes to the ten benefits above. We truly are improving Northern Virginia and our Planet one lawn at a time.