Air Quality and Turfgrass
“Just one acre of grass can absorb hundreds of pounds of fossil-fuel created sulfur dioxide in a single year.”
In recent years progress seems to have been made in improving our air quality. But the levels of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter in our atmosphere, primarily from the burning of carbon based fuels, is still a major concern. Plants absorb these gaseous pollutants into their leaves and break them down, thereby cleaning the air. An acre of flourishing growth will absorb hundreds of pounds of sulfur dioxide during a year. Grass also takes in carbon dioxide, hydrogen fluoride and peroxyacetyl nitrate ² the worst group of atmospheric pollutants. Grasses in the United States also trap an estimated 12 million tons of dust and dirt released annually into the atmosphere. This dust, dirt and even smoke are trapped in part by the grass leaves, where it is washed into the soil system by water condensed on the leaves and rainfall. Grassed areas significantly lower the levels of atmospheric dust and pollutants.
NOTE: Survey data was collected by the Maryland Agricultural Statistics Service which also tabulated the results and wrote the findings. Survey results can be viewed at http://iaa.umd.edu/umturf/MTC%20Survey/MTC%20PRIMARY%20PAGE.