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The Benefits of Turfgrass
By Don Schlup
benefits-of-sod

At a time when global warming, air pollution, and carbon emissions are making world-wide news, it is important to take a closer look at turfgrass and the many benefits it has to offer. Most people take grass for granted, never thinking about the environmental, community, human health, and economic benefits it offers

Dr. James Beard, Professor Emeritus of Texas A & M University and a leading authority of turfgrass, has often stated. “The environmental benefits of turfgrass are the most sensible and economically feasible approach to countering the greenhouse effect in urban areas.”

Just how important is turfgrass as it relates to the world around us?  The benefits we derive from turfgrass are considerable. Turfgrasses act as carbon sinks that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while providing clean oxygen in return. A recent study has suggested that lawns actual store four times the carbon emissions of the lawn mowers used to maintain them.

Lawns also decrease the urban heat island effect and reduce the need for air conditioning in the summer – which reduces the use of fossil fuels and water. Turfgrass lawns provide erosion control, keeping surface waters clean by decreasing run-off, and helping to purify water before it reaches aquifers. It has been scientifically proven that installation of well-maintained turfgrass lawns around freshwater sources are better at keeping contaminants out of the water compared to re-established native prairie mixes.

Environmental Benefits

  • Cools the Air
  • Produces Oxygen
  • Filters Air & Reduces Pollution
  • Captures & Suppresses Dust
  • Recharges & Filters Groundwater Supply
  • Reduces Storm Water Run-off
  • Controls Soil Erosion
  • Sequesters and Retains Carbon
  • Assists Decomposition of Pollutants
  • Restores Soil Quality

Community & Human Health Benefits

  • Enhances Community Pride & Social Harmony
  • Offers a Natural Playing Surface for Recreation
  • Provides a Safe Surface & Reduces Injuries
  • Promotes Outdoor Activity & Exercise
  • Improves Physical & Mental Health
  • Relieves Stress
  • Lowers Allergy Related Problems
  • Dissipates Heat & Cools the Environment
  • Reduces Glare
  • Diminishes Noise Pollution
  • Minimizes Nuisance Pests
  • Complements Overall Landscaping
  • Preserves Natural Wildlife Habitat

Economic Benefits

  • Increases Property Values
  • Reduces Home Cooling Costs
  • Provides a Low-Cost Ground Cover
  • Serves as a Fire Barrier
  • Improves Visibility & Deters Crime
  • Boosts Human Productivity

The far reaching and clear attributes of turfgrass are immeasurable. Through greater awareness of its numerous benefits, we better understand its positive impact on our lives and the communities in which we live.

TPI Turf News: January/February 2009