Environmental Benefits of Lawns
Climate is controlled at ground level by turfgrasses as they cool temperatures appreciably, thus working as exterior "air conditioners."
Dust and smoke particles from the atmosphere are trapped by turf which helps keep the air cleaner.
Noise is absorbed by grass areas which cut down on excessive sound, a growing problem in urban areas.
For example, grassed slopes beside lowered expressways reduce noise 8-10 decibels.
Pollutants, such as carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide, are absorbed by turfgrasses thereby rendering the air fit to breathe.
Turfgrass thatch acts as a barrier deterring chemicals from entering the soil profile.
Oxygen generation by turfgrasses has a major impact in making our environment habitable. A 50'x 50' lawn produces enough oxygen for a family of four.
Erosion of soil by water is effectively controlled by grasses as they intercept raindrops before they disturb the soil and they also slow the flow of water which minimizes soil loss.
Groundwater is enhanced in two ways by a dense turf. Turfgrasses increase infiltration of water and clean the water as it passes which in turn recharges the underground water supplies used by all of us.
Run-off of water and pollutants is greatly reduced by a highly maintained lawn. Dense turfgrass cleans the water helping to maintain a high quality environment.
Zones that are stabilized by turfgrasses enhance safety on roads and airfields by reducing run-off which can cause flooding. Turfgrasses also diminish soil erosion which muddies surfaces and they absorb dust improving visibility.
Traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian, is directed by lawn barriers in areas of heavy movement of people and on roadsides and medians.
Fire retardation by buffer areas of well-maintained lawn grass around buildings is good insurance.
This overview of some of the many benefits of lawns provides a tribute to the grass plant, truly a gift of nature. Although each plant is small, it contributes so much to our well-being.
---Dr. Eliot Roberts and Beverly Roberts 1989