Friday, January 20, 2012

Lawns - Benefits of a Healthy Lawn



Lawn, Yard, Turf, Grass - It's a Good Thing

Much interest has been focused on gardening in recent years.  The vegetable garden, the perennial garden, the cutting garden..... but one aspect of the home landscape, industrial landscape, and urban landscape that we overlook is THE LAWN.






We all have 'it' but 'it' is taken for granted.  In 2004 total acres of turf was estimated at a whopping 46.5 million acres.  The grass industry has available 7500 kinds of grass, with over 50 species being cultivated. Home owners in the US spend $6.4 billion annually on lawn care which includes fertilizers, weed and pest controls, equipment, and water.  With this much money spent on grass, I was interested to see what benefits we do get.




Throughout time recreation as been staged on the lawn.  Badminton, croquet, Frisbee... all need the grass.  Sports like soccer and touch football at a family picnic use grass.  Relaxation is the real game! 


The human factor cannot be overstated. 


(Note the unused chairs!)

Reducing tension and getting a feeling of well-being are benefits of lawns.

Turf has a positive effect on the environment too. 

The front yard offers a cool space. Unlike the concrete walks and street that cook us, grass of eight front yards can actually have the cooling effect of a 70 ton air conditioner. (Our home equipment only has 4 ton capacity).


Lawns absorb water, reducing runoff, and erosion. 



The root system of turf is dense.  It pulls water into the soil, and filters the water that eventually get into the underground aquifer.  According to The Lawn Institute one blade of grass can have 387 miles of roots.  A healthy lawn can have 850 plants per square foot. 

Sodded lawns actually pull in more moisture than seeded  lawns even after after two years of growth. A healthy lawn can actually absorb more rain than a field of wheat by 6x, and 4x better than hay.  
 Healthy lawns - healthy water.

Air quality is also affected by grass.  Carbon dioxide is pulled from the atmosphere and releases enough oxygen to support a family of four.

A 625 square foot lawn provides enough oxygen for one person for an entire day.

Tons of dust and dirt in the air are trapped by lawn each year.



Benefits of a healthy lawn are evident in cleaner water, less erosion, and cleaner air.

At the beginning, I stated the enormous amount of money we spend each year on our lawns.  When asked why they are willing to do all that work and spend that amount of money, homeowners felt that they would recoup the money on the lawn with added value of their property.  In fact, there is a 100% - 200% recovery rate on landscaping, in comparison to money spent on a patio or deck which only returned 40% - 70% of the investment. 

Realtors also put an importance on curb appeal since a well maintained front yard has a perceived value to a buyer. 



The healthy Lawn serves up alot of benefits.  Relaxation, recreation, filter of air and water, and monetary value to the homeowner. 

I couched this article as though we have 'healthy' lawns.  I'll define that concept, and give ideas on how to achieve a healthy lawn next week. 

What benefits do you get from your yard?  Let us know.  And thanks for stopping by.  Claudia




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