Lawns often get a bad rap, especially in drought times. But most of that reputation is not earned. True, lawns can suck up water; improper fertilization can create run-off pollution; and, using small gas engines to cut lawns contributes to ground-level ozone. But these downsides can be off-set big-time by using native grasses, watering in the coolest part of the day, using electric engines when possible, mowing grass higher, fertilizing correctly and using drought-tolerant landscaping to make lawns smaller.
Now for the good news!
Healthy lawns can:
1. Reduce CO2 emissions. According to NASA, the 40 million acres of lawns in the US take up between 6 and 17 teragrams of carbon each year.
2. Lower noise pollution.
3. Act as a natural air filter, reducing airborne particulates by 12 million tons/ year.
4. Give back oxygen.
5. Act like a giant air conditioner; according to a Mississippi State University study, a healthy lawn has the same cooling effect as an 8.5 ton air conditioning compressor. Non-plant areas can actually contribute to atmospheric warming.
6. Reduce erosion and increase soil stability due to their root structure.
So the next time you get that disapproving stare from your neighbor about your healthy lawn, you can use these info tidbits to your advantage. And, you and your family can enjoy your lawn in peace.