It’s summertime and families are spending more time enjoying the outdoors, entertaining with barbecues and patio parties and playing in the backyard. Studies show that green space and landscaping contribute to health, happiness and intellect. The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (www.opei.org/stewardship), shares seven reasons to be thankful grass is part of our living landscapes.
Reason #1: Our yards are incredible oxygen making machines and they cleanse the air too! A grass area measuring 50 X 50 feet will produce enough oxygen to meet the daily needs of a family of four. Research has also shown that turfgrass removes atmospheric pollutants such as carbon dioxide, ozone, hydrogen fluoride, and perosyzacetyle nitrate from the air. Grass also plays a vital role in capturing dust, smoke particles and other pollutants.
Reason #2: Grass cools down your community and the area around your home. This is especially important in cities, where asphalt, hardscape and plastic turf radiate heat. Grass dissipates radiant heat through a process called evapotranspiration, which combats the heat island effect.
Reason #3: Your lawn combats climate change. Grass is the largest carbon sink in the country, absorbing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide that is warming up our planet. An average-sized home lawn has the potential to sequester 20.3 to 163.4 kg C per lawn per year. The dense canopy and fibrous root system in your lawn sequesters carbon so well, that it outweighs the carbon used to maintain the grass by as much as seven-fold.
Reason #4: Your lawn helps control water runoff and erosion. Grass acts like a sponge and prevents water from “running off” into area sewer drains and carrying anything it collects along the way – like motor oil, dirt, or trash. Grass cleans the water it collects and breaks down harmful microbes and pollutants, keeping them out of groundwater supplies. The natural filtration system in your lawn is so effective that rain water filtered through a healthy lawn is often as much as 10 times less acidic than water running off a hard surface like a sidewalk or hardscape. It also prevents flooding and soil erosion by “hanging on” to soil.
Reason #5: Grass reduces noise. Grass cuts down on excessive sound, a growing problem in urban areas, where hardscape and pavement reverberate noise. Grass slopes alongside lowered expressways reduce noise 8-10 decibels.
Reason #6: Your lawn can make you happier. Research shows that knowing and experiencing nature, including grass, makes us generally happier, healthier people. Studies show that even just looking out a window at green spaces can lower our stress levels. Walking or running in green spaces, instead of synthetic environments, led to decreased anger, fatigue and feelings of depression, while increasing attention levels.
Reason #7: Your children and pets benefit from your lawn. A useable outdoor area provides a safe place for children and pets to play, while providing a spacious living area for the entire family. Outdoor play increases fitness levels and builds active, healthy bodies, an important strategy in helping the one in three American kids who are obese get fit. Research also shows that children’s stress levels fall within minutes of seeing green spaces.
These are just a few of the reasons to be grateful for our grass. Hundreds of varieties of turfgrass exist, and some of them even work well in regions affected by drought.
To get more information and tips on maintaining your lawn visit www.opei.org/stewardship