These days, sustainability is a top priority for homeowners – and important to all of us!
A lawn that keeps the health of the environment in mind has many benefits that extend well beyond earth-friendly intentions. Earth Day falls on Friday, April 22nd this year, and Sod University focuses on some of the key benefits natural turfgrass brings to the environment.
For starters, natural grass cooling properties make a huge difference in areas that experience extreme heat during summer months. Natural grass also has the unique ability to rid carbon dioxide from air, as well as keep other pollutants such as pollen and dust from entering the water supply en masse. Lastly, a natural turfgrass lawn provides an aesthetically pleasing look for a home that can be enjoyed by the entire family.
While artificial grass is becoming more popular, don’t be fooled by the allure—there are many reasons why it’s best for homeowners to stay away from this trend. Natural grass is the more sustainable option and the way to go! When it comes to caring for a sustainable lawn, there are a few aspects that make all the difference.
How Natural Lawns Improve Air Quality
Natural lawns and turfgrass in general act as a sponge for impurities in our air. Natural turfgrass significantly cleanses the air of dust, dirt, CO2 and other impurities on an annual basis. Grass blades will capture the impurities and move them into the root zone where microbes help break the impurities down. This promotes a clean atmosphere for us to breathe.
Natural lawns also capture a significant amount of CO2 from the atmosphere on an annual basis—300 pounds per year! The grass transforms the CO2 to a different form of carbon that is then stored in the soil and eventually becomes organic matter, which is extremely beneficial for your lawn. Learn more about the importance of carbon in your lawn here. This carbon sequestration helps reduce contributions to global warming.
Natural grass is a living organism, so it has the ability to provide oxygen through the photosynthesis process. In fact, it is estimated that a 25 sq. ft. lawn will provide enough oxygen for one person each day during the grass’s active growing season.
How Natural Lawns Conserve and Filtrate Water
A common misconception about natural turfgrass is that it takes gallons and gallons of water to keep it healthy and thriving. While it’s true that watering is an essential component of lawn care, overwatering isn’t beneficial—in fact, it can harm the grass.
Fortunately, there are several innovative turfgrass varieties out there that can thrive in the heat with less water than others.
Another benefit of natural turfgrass is that it helps to purify the rainwater that comes in. Acidic rain caused by air pollutants can harm the environment, but a natural lawn helps to serve as a filter for groundwater quality. Microbes within the soil break down pollutants as rainwater comes in. This helps to purify groundwater as it moves through the roots and into rivers and lakes.
How Natural Lawns Prevent Stormwater Runoff and Soil Erosion
Additionally, water absorbed into a natural lawn also prevents runoff and soil erosion, a major issue that artificial lawns and Xeriscaped (zero irrigation) lawns are unable to do. Natural lawns are one of the best ways to prevent soil erosion as their expansive root systems hold onto soil. Microbes in natural lawns also break down pollutants as rainwater comes in and flows through rivers and lakes.
Ways to Provide Natural Lawns with Earth-Friendly Nutrition
With trending alternative options for natural turfgrass such as artificial turfgrass or xeriscaping, it’s important to understand that there are ways to feed your natural lawn earth-friendly nutrition while reducing harmful effects to the environment. Some of these methods include:
- Adding more organic matter to your lawn as a source of nutrients (i.e. compost, topdressing or manure)
- Using fallen leaves as compost
- Leaving mower clipping in the lawn
- Reducing nitrogen inputs
- Using carbon-based fertilizers like Lawnifi®
Learn more in this blog.