How a healthy lawn helps the environment

As a homeowner, you take pride in your lawn. A bright green, luscious lawn is a badge of honor: It shows that you not only care about the look and feel of your surroundings, but you also make sure that important outdoor tasks get done. Mowing the lawn to the right height, watering it properly, raking away leaves and debris—that takes time and effort.

Another reason to gloat about your verdant lawn: Natural grass helps the environment in many ways. Here are a few of the biggest effects a healthy lawn has on its surroundings:

1) It produces clean air.

Like most plants, grass breathes in carbon dioxide and releases oxygen, detoxifying the air and making it easier for humans to breathe. Even a small amount of grass can have a significant impact on the quality of air: A 50x50-foot lawn produces enough oxygen to keep a family of four breathing clean.

2) It reduces dust pollution.

Another major contributor to air pollution, dust is limited and maintained by areas of turf. Grass traps dust in the soil, preventing wind, humans and other creatures from kicking particles into the air. Plus, grass tends to attract airborne dust and smoke, pulling it out of the air as if by magnetism.

3) It moderates ground temperature.

Gravel will reflect the sun’s light and heat, making a gravel-filled space unbearable hot. Conversely, lawns absorb the sun’s rays to use as energy, and in doing so, they can produce their own evaporative cooling mechanism, keeping their area temperate. Dry soil can get as hot as 102 degrees Fahrenheit, but grass tends to hover between 88 and 75 degrees, even on the hottest days, so it modifies the environment by controlling specific temperatures.

4) It filters groundwater.

Turf’s final major environmental impact occurs below the surface. As water seeps into the ground through grassy areas, the leaves and roots of grass filter out most contaminants. As a result, water passed through a lawn tends to be more than 10 times less acidic than other runoff, allowing clean water to nourish the environment and return to human homes.

How to keep your lawn healthy

Humans don’t gain the benefits of grass if they let their lawns go fallow. Turf requires some maintenance every season, so every homeowner should consider keeping a summer, fall, winter, and spring lawn maintenance schedule. Furthermore, you should care for your lawn in environmentally friendly ways, which means using organic fertilizers, chemical-free pesticides and even eco-friendly grass varieties.

What you can do:

  • Water deeply and infrequently. In most regions, grass doesn’t need water every day. Instead, pay attention to your lawn and water only when you must.
  • Mow high. Tall grass might need mowing more often, but it tends to be stronger and healthier, too. Set your mower to about 2.5 inches.
  • Allow thatch to form. A lawn is an environment in itself, filled with safe bacteria and beneficial bugs. A lawn needs these critters to live in its thatch to be healthy.

Learn more about keeping a healthy lawn