The environmental benefits of turf grasses has recently been well researched and documented.
The following is a snapshot of some of the key benefit findings of recent studies.
FUNCTIONAL & CLIMATIC BENEFITS
- Climate is controlled at ground level by turf grasses as they cool temperatures appreciably, thus working as exterior “air conditioners.”
- Dust and smoke particles from the atmosphere are trapped by turf which helps keep the air cleaner.
- Noise is absorbed by grass areas which cut down on excessive sound, a growing problem in urban areas. For example, grassed slopes beside lowered expressways reduce noise 8-10 decibels
- Grasses in general, and particularly turf grasses, develop a dense root mass and an organic thatch layer that is ideal for storage of carbon in soils. The extensive fibrous root system of turf grasses contributes substantially to soil restoration and improvement through organic matter and carbon additions.
- Pollutants, such as carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide, are absorbed by turfgrasses thereby rendering the air fit to breathe.
- When people think ‘carbon’ they usually think ‘trees’, but in reality 82% of carbon in the terrestrial biosphere is in the soil. Healthy grasslands may contain over 100 times more carbon in the soil than on it, making a well-managed perennial grass ley the quickest and most effective way to restore degraded land
- Oxygen generation by turfgrasses has a major impact in making our environment habitable. 5 square metres of lawn produces enough oxygen for a family of four.
- Turf grass thatch acts as a barrier deterring chemicals from entering the soil profile.
- Erosion of soil by water is effectively controlled by grasses as they intercept raindrops before they disturb the soil and they also slow the flow of water which minimizes soil loss.
- Zones that are stabilized by turfgrasses enhance safety on roads and airfields by reducing run-off which can cause flooding. Turfgrasses also diminish soil erosion which muddies surfaces and they absorb dust improving visibility.
- Traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian, is directed by lawn barriers in areas of heavy movement of people and on roadsides and medians.
- Fire retardation by buffer areas of well-maintained lawn grass around buildings is good insurance.
WATER USAGE BENEFITS
- Water availability and conservation are a priority for the turf grass industry. The first step is to select the correct turf grass for the climate in which it will be grown. During the last 30 years, turf grass scientists have determined the water use rates for all major turf grass species. Turfgrasses with deep, extensive root systems, coupled with decreased water use, are more drought resistant and have a greater water conservation potential.
- Groundwater is enhanced in two ways by a dense turf. Turfgrasses increase infiltration of water and clean the water as it passes which in turn recharges the underground water supplies used by all of us.
- Run-off of water and pollutants is greatly reduced by a highly maintained lawn.
- Mature grass swards use less water than mature trees and shrubs
- Dense turf grass cleans the water helping to maintain a high quality environment.
SOCIAL, RECREATIONAL & HEALTH BENEFITS
- Recent research shows that “green nature” such as parks, can reduce crime, foster psychological wellbeing, reduce stress, boost immunity, enhance productivity and promote healing.
- Turf grass, is an integral component of the park landscape, and therefore plays a major role in these health benefits
- Turf has been found to help in the protection of homes from bushfires and reduces the incidence of pests and dangerous animals such as rats and snakes
- Natural turf is much more conducive on hot weather than synthetic turf on sporting grounds. Unshaded synthetic turf absorbs sunlight and becomes much hotter than natural turf. Excessive heat on players then becomes a workplace health and safety issue.
- Research has shown that that many ankle and foot injuries are due to greater levels of torque, velocity and traction found in association with artificial turf surfaces. His observations show that the potential pressure on joints and bones is increased from the inability of a fully-planted, cleat-wearing foot to divot or twist out, an action that releases force.
The Lawn Institute
Nursery & Garden Industry Association
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