It’s absolutely okay to have a real lawn. You don’t even need to worry that your fun, outdoor living space is somehow weirdly contributing to greenhouse gases. The truth is that healthy lawns are actually as great for the environment as they are for giving your family a reason (and place) to be more active.
Did you know?
- A 50 x 50-foot lawn releases enough oxygen for a family of four, while absorbing ozone, carbon dioxide and other airborne chemicals.
- Healthy lawns filter toxins through their root systems. They break down pollutants.
- Healthy lawns stop erosion and runoff into the streets.
- A healthy lawn absorbs rainfall six times more effectively than a wheat field.
- Lawns also have a proven cooling effect. Eight average front lawns have the same cooling effect as about 70 tons of air conditioning. The average capacity of a home air conditioning unit is only three to four tons.
- Lawns can reduce 20-30 percent of noise levels.
Now contrast all of the above with artificial plastic turf or gravel. They don’t filter, don’t stop runoff and they can create “heat islands”. Besides, what kid likes to play in a rock yard?
Tips for making your lawn even more eco-friendly
- Test your soil before the growing season starts. Identifying and treating deficiencies early in the year will give your lawn a healthier start, so you may not have to treat problems later on.
- Mow high. Keeping grass blades at two or three inches will help your lawn resist weeds, insects and diseases. It also promotes a deeper root system. Remember to cut just one-third of the grass height at one mowing.
- Cut back on fertilizer and water use: It’s easy to over-fertilize and actually burn your grass. Some better sod varieties, such as Harmony, are now cultivated to require less water and fertilizer.
- Cut back on raking: Once you finish mowing, most of the time you can forget about raking! Leave those clippings where they fell. They are filled with nutrients, and can further reduce your need to fertilize by as much as 25 percent. Only excessive quantities of grass clippings may cause issues.
Whether you’re a kid or simply a kid at heart, get outside and play. Healthy lawns make for healthy outdoor lifestyles. You can feel good about making space in your life for active living while promoting a greener environment for all to enjoy.