Updated: Sep 30, 2020
A healthy, thriving lawn boasts many benefits. In recent years progress seems to have been made in improving air quality, but the levels of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter in our atmosphere (primarily from the burning of carbon based fuels) are still a major concern. Plants absorb these gaseous pollutants into their leaves and break them down, thereby cleaning the air. Just 1 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-the worst group of atmospheric pollutants. Grasses in the U.S. also trap an estimated 12 million tons of dust and dirt released annually into the atmosphere. – Maryland Agricultural Statistics Service
Our air is cleansed by plants through the process of photosynthesis. Green plants take in carbon dioxide and water and use the energy from sunlight in photosynthesis, which produces carbohydrates for plants to live off of and releases oxygen. A 50-foot-by-50-foot turf area produces enough oxygen to meet the needs of a family of four. Each acre of grass produces enough oxygen for 64 people a day. The grass and trees along our country’s interstate system produce enough oxygen to support 22 million people. -Maryland Agricultural Statistics Service
Soil erosion is one of the most pressing environmental problems facing the world today. In the U.S. alone, nearly 6 billion tons of soil wash or blow away each year, a figure exceeding the amount of erosion experienced during the devastating “Dust Bowl” years of the 1930s.
Soil erosion in the U.S. costs between $6 and $16 billion a year. Turfgrass is the best defense against soil erosion because it binds the soil more effectively than any other plant. The reason? Each grass plant has an extensive root system; up to 90% of the weight of a grass plant is in its roots. A single grass plant grown under ideal conditions has over 300 miles of roots. Healthy turf areas absorb rainfall six times more effectively than a wheat field and four times better than a hay field. -Maryland Agricultural Statistics Service
Turf cools itself and its surroundings through the evapotranspiration process. One acre of turf on a summer day will lose about 2,400 gallons of water through evaporation and transpiration to the atmosphere. Roughly 50 percent of the sun’s heat striking the turf may be eliminated through this transpirational cooling process. The cooling properties of turf are so effective that temperatures over turfed surfaces on a sunny summer day will be 10 to 14 degrees cooler than over concrete or asphalt. -The Lawn Institute