Upfront: Fun and fascinating facts about natural grass lawns

By Steve Noe

In an effort to raise public awareness regarding the many environmental and health benefits of natural grass, The Lawn Institute and the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) recently issued a press release with fun facts about natural grass lawns.

I found these facts to be fascinating and thought they would be worth sharing with you to pass along to your customers. These facts included:

* The Lawn Institute estimates that the United States has more than 31 million acres of managed grass — which equates to more than 50,000 square miles — with more than 60 percent of it found in lawns.

* A healthy 10,000-square-foot lawn can absorb more than 6,000 gallons of rainwater without noticeable runoff.

* One acre of grass can absorb and assimilate hundreds of pounds of sulfur dioxide created by automobile exhaust. (In addition, the press release points out that grass and all other green plants absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen through the process of photosynthesis. This is one of the main processes that remove carbon dioxide, one of the main “greenhouse gases,” from the air. More importantly, it is the only natural process that produces the oxygen we breathe in the air.)

* A home landscape is an important oxygen producer just by itself. A 50-foot by 50-foot area can produce enough oxygen to sustain a family of four.

* The trees and grass along the U.S. interstate highway system release enough oxygen to support an estimated 22 million people annually.

* If people recycle grass clippings, leaving them to decompose on the lawn, the U.S. lawn area could store up to 16.7 teragrams of carbon each year. That’s equivalent to about 37 billion pounds or the weight of approximately 147,000 blue whales.

* A well-maintained lawn and landscape keeps a home significantly cooler by reducing surface temperatures by 30-40 degrees compared to bare soil and by 50-70 degrees versus streets and sidewalks.

* Researchers have estimated that an average home landscape provides the cooling effect equivalent to 10 tons of air conditioning, compared to the 3- to 4-ton capacity of the average air-conditioning unit.

As the press release concludes, “Hasty decisions regarding the removal of turfgrass and lawns without fully understanding and appreciating the environmental benefits they offer may be a disservice, not only to all of us, but to future generations as well.”

To learn more fun facts and other information about natural grass lawns, visit www.thelawninstitute.org.

OPE Editor Steve Noe


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