Watching the Grass Grow

The environmental benefits of a healthy lawn are often taken for granted and so too are the men and women who grow turfgrass.

By Jim Novak – Turfgrass Producers International

(HIT) – The National Turfgrass Research Initiative (NTRI) states, “Millions of acres of turfgrass on home lawns, commercial landscapes, roadsides, parks, athletic fields, golf courses and sod farms improve our quality of life by providing open space, recreational and business opportunities, enhanced property values, and the conservation of important natural resources. With its above-ground network of leaves, shoots, and stems and an extensive fibrous root system below, turfgrass removes dust and dirt from the air, reduces soil erosion, filters water, and produces a safe playing surface for children, adults, and athletes. In addition, scientific research has shown that hospital patients recover faster when beautiful landscapes are in view. Therefore, turfgrass not only enhances the value and beauty of our lives but also contributes to improvements in our physical and mental health.”

They go on to state, “The turfgrass industry consists of many diverse groups including millions of homeowners, athletic field managers, lawn care operators, golf course superintendents, architects, developers and owners, landscape designers and contractors, seed and sod producers, parks and grounds superintendents, roadside and vegetation managers and cemetery managers.

Image of a man and his son standing on turfgrass sod in their yard
Photo Courtesy of Jim Novak – Turfgrass Producers International

“Turfgrass beautifies tens of millions of home lawns, provides safe playing surfaces on over 700,000 athletic fields, outdoor recreation for nearly 26 million golfers on over 17,000 golf courses and economic opportunities for tens of thousands of seed and sod producers, lawn care operators and landscapers. In addition, turfgrasses provide safety and dust control along millions of miles of highways and thousands of airport runways.

“Turfgrasses beautify our parks and landscapes. They are part of a larger “green industry” that improves the physical and mental healthof Americans, particularly in crowded urban and suburban areas. Finally, turfgrasses provide environmental protection and enhancement by purifying and protecting our water, soil and air wherever they are grown. Turfgrasses truly touch each and every American in some way every day!”

Few people realize that well maintained turfgrass lawns have many attributes that are not only appealing and desirable they also benefit our environment. Howard Siegrist, Extension Educator, Ohio State University has remarked, “No other living groundcover is as durable as turfgrass.”

And it’s not just the durability of turfgrass, or the way it looks that enriches the communities in which we live, it’s the often overlooked environmental benefits. Consider these facts:

  • The 8.5 million grass plants in a healthy 10,000-square-foot lawn absorb 6,000 gallons of rainwater.
  • An average golf course of 150 acres can absorb 12 million gallons of water during a 3-inch rainfall.
  • Every 2.5 acres of golf course turf sequesters about one ton of carbon from the air per year.
  • Earthworm populations of 200 to 300 earthworms per square yard are common in turfgrass lawns. They increase the amount of macropore space within the soil, which results in increased soil water infiltration rates and water-retention capacity.
  • U.S. lawns remove 5 percent of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • Turfgrass traps more than 12 million tons of dust and dirt annually. Trapped particles also include allergens such as plant pollen.
  • A 2500-square-foot lawn produces enough oxygen for a family of four.
  • Eight average-size lawns have the cooling effect of 70 tons of air conditioning.

There are approximately 2,200 turfgrass producers across the United States and perhaps as many if not more around the world. An uninformed onlooker might suggest they’re just turfgrass producers, but that would be a gross understatement. The preceding is dedicated to turfgrass producers worldwide and their families for all that they do to improve our environment.

For more information about lawn care visit The Lawn Institute at http://www.thelawninstitute.org/

Courtesy: Home Improvement News and Information Center

Media Contact: Turfgrass Producers International, Jim Novak Public Relations Manager Turfgrass Producers International 2 East Main Street East Dundee, IL 60118 jnovak@TurfGrassSod.org