In the new age of “going green”, just about everyone I speak with has forgotten about the greenest tool they have in their green tool belt, their lawn! Yes, I said it! Before you jump on the bandwagon to rip out your lawn for “drought tolerant plants”, you need to really cut through the hype and look at the negative impact you are having on the environment by removing your healthy lawn!
You may be thinking, “I don’t have to water the plants as much”? A study done at the University of Florida, showed that as the plants mature, and get bigger, they actually use more water than the lawn they have replaced! Ok, smart guy, do I still have to water? That is your decision and not your lawn’s! I will just say that I have never watered my own lawn, except for seed establishment, and we seem to get along just fine! Check out some quick facts about how your lawn is making your life better and wonder what it would be like if we all lived in the desert?
Just Keeping it Green,
Quick Facts for Your North Carolina Lawn
- Front lawns of just eight average homes have the cooling effect of about 70 tons of air conditioning, while the average home size central air unit has only a 3 to 4 ton capacity.
- Turf grasses trap much of an estimated 12 tons of dust and dirt released annually into the U.S. atmosphere.
- A turf area just 50-feet by 50-feet absorbs carbon dioxide, ozone, hydrogen fluoride, sulfur dioxide and releases enough oxygen to meet the needs of a family of four.
- With 90% of the weight of grass plant in its roots, it makes a very efficient erosion prevention device, also removing soil particles from silty water.
Healthy grass provides feeding ground for birds, which find it a rich source of insects, worms and other food.
- Helps beautify the neighborhood.
- Creates a relaxing space of natural beauty. Grassy areas quickly affect people’s moods by creating feelings of serenity, privacy, thoughtfulness or happiness. Its yearly cycles of growth and color changes, lift human spirits and link urban inhabitants with their countryside heritage.
- While strict conservationists berate the lowly lawn as an expensive consumer of natural resources, it is actually a natural provider for our ecosystem. Healthy, dense lawns absorb rainfall six times more effectively than a wheat field, four times better than a hay field, and prevents runoff and erosion of our precious top soil. It also traps much of the estimated 12 million tons of dust and dirt released into the US atmosphere annually. Lawns also purify water entering into underground aquifers–its root mass and soil microbes act as a filter to capture and breakdown many types of pollutants.
- Increases real estate market value and stability. A Gallup Survey reported 62% of all US homeowners felt investment in lawns and landscaping was as good or better than other home improvements. The investment recovery rate is 100-200% for landscape improvement, compared to a deck or patio that will recover 40-70% of installation cost. Proper and well maintained landscaping adds 15% to a home’s value according to buyers.
- Recovery rates among hospitalized patients are often quicker when their rooms view a landscaped area compared to patients with non-landscaped views.
- Playing fields covered with dense turf have proven safer, as demonstrated by a simple egg drop test. When a dozen raw eggs were dropped from a height of 11 feet onto a two-inch thick piece of dense turf, none broke; two thirds broke on thin turf from that height, and from just 18 inches, all broke on an all-weather track!