As urban and suburban areas grow, so too does the amount of impervious surfaces from roads, parking lots, roofs, houses, and more. This puts an increasing amount of pressure on parks, natural areas, urban forests, open space, and lawns to capture rainfall and reduce stormflow into nearby watersheds. Not only do plants reduce stormflow, but did you know that they also cleanse it? Rapid urbanization increases the variety and amount of pollutants that can be found in water. As rainfall hits impervious services, it picks up various urban pollutants such as petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, industrial discharge, sediment, road salts, heavy metals, chemicals from cars and trucks, and more.
Green infrastructure, including lawns, takes advantage of natural plant processes such as infiltration, evaporation, and transpiration to keep water and pollutants out of stormflow and allow it to enter the natural water cycle. Perennial grasses and their fibrous root systems are some of the most effective species of plants at fracturing compacted, mineral soils and depositing organic carbon through photosynthesis. As they do this, they naturally increase the amount of pore space in soils capable of holding oxygen and water. Want to learn more about the value of grass lawns at capturing rainfall, reducing stormflow, and more? Check out some of the highlights from recent scientific research below!