These days, sustainability is a top priority for a lot of homeowners—and for good reason. A lawn that keeps the health of the environment in mind has many benefits that extend well beyond earth-friendly intentions. Natural turfgrass boasts a long list of benefits. Natural grass cooling properties make a huge difference in areas that experience extreme heat during summer months. Natural grass also has the unique ability to rid carbon dioxide from air, as well as keep other pollutants such as pollen and dust from entering the water supply en masse. Lastly, a natural turfgrass lawn provides an aesthetically pleasing look for a home that can be enjoyed by the entire family. Earth Day falls on Thursday, April 22nd this year, and Sod University focuses on some of the key benefits natural turfgrass brings to the environment.
While artificial grass is becoming more popular, don’t be fooled by the allure—there are many reasons why it’s best for homeowners to stay away from this trend. Natural grass is the more sustainable option and the way to go! When it comes to caring for a sustainable lawn, there are a few aspects that make all the difference. In fact, The Lawn Institute created an infographic that demonstrates a few of the many benefits natural turfgrass brings to the environment.
Photo Credit: The Lawn Institute.
Natural Lawns Improve Air Quality
Natural lawns and turfgrass in general act as a sponge for impurities in our air. Natural turfgrass significantly cleanses the air of dust, dirt, carbon dioxide and other impurities on an annual basis. Grass blades will capture the impurities and move them into the root zone where microbes help break the impurities down. This promotes a clean atmosphere for us to breathe. Natural lawns also capture a significant amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere on an annual basis. The grass transforms the carbon dioxide to a different form of carbon that is then stored in the soil and eventually becomes organic matter. This helps reduce contributions to global warming. Natural lawns produce a large amount of oxygen for us to breathe as well.
Natural Lawns Conserve and Filtrate Water
A common misconception about natural turfgrass is that it takes gallons and gallons of water to keep it healthy and thriving. While it’s true that watering is an essential component of lawn care, overwatering isn’t beneficial—in fact, it can harm the grass. Fortunately, there are several innovative turfgrass varieties out there that can thrive in the heat with less water than others. EMPIRE® Zoysia, Celebration® Bermudagrass and CitraBlue® St. Augustine are a few examples of drought tolerant varieties you might want to check out if water preservation is a priority. Another benefit of natural turfgrass is that it helps to purify the rainwater that comes in. Acidic rain caused by air pollutants can harm the environment, but a natural lawn helps to serve as a filter for groundwater quality. Microbes within the soil break down pollutants as rainwater comes in. This helps to purify groundwater as it moves through the roots and into rivers and lakes. Water absorbed into a natural lawn also prevents runoff and soil erosion.
Natural Lawns and Earth-Friendly Nutrition
Fallen Leaves for Composting
There are plenty of ways to nourish a yard sustainably. The easiest way to do this is by collecting fallen leaves and other natural yard material for use as compost. The leaves are low in essential nutrients your grass needs such as nitrogen, but still contain a small amount of the necessary nutrients. Composting fallen leaves will also serve as a valuable source for organic matter that helps to improve your soil.
Leftover Mower Clippings for Composting
Mowing should take place once a week during warm months to keep grass healthy and thriving. Keeping the height a little taller, around two or three inches, is also a good way to conserve water as well. Like fallen leaves used for composting, lawn clippings after a mow will also provide nutrients to grass. This saves you from having to use more fertilizer. Lawn clippings will also improve soil condition and quality as it increases the activity of beneficial microorganisms. To read more about composting, be sure to take a look at the Sod University article, Composting 101. If, however, you want to mow your lawn as little as possible, be sure to check out our article on The Best Grass for Low Maintenance to learn more about a selection of turfgrasses that require reduced mowing due to its natural growing height.
Fertilizer will also give your lawn the nutrients it needs to survive, but applying fertilizers in large amounts is not healthy for the environment—especially when formulations are mainly made up of nitrogen. Lawnifi® provides the nutrients your grass needs with the use of less fertilizer product and better results. Since there is a smaller amount of product used in the liquid fertilizer, Lawnifi is earth-friendly. However, the granular formula, Lawnifi Foundation, can be applied once every three months, which reduces fertilizer applications. Lawnifi uses 80 percent less nitrogen and encourages healthy soils and microbial populations through humates, carbon and the micronutrients plants need to thrive. The Lawnifi Complete Program 9 Bottle Annual Fertilizer Subscription consists of three seasonal boxes—one for spring, summer and fall—called the Spring Fertilizer Box, Summer Fertilizer Box and Fall Fertilizer Box. Each seasonal box contains three bottles of different formulations that you can apply on your lawn throughout the season.
Three of the four Lawnifi bottles are carbon-based and will contribute to an appropriate carbon-nitrogen ratio to keep your soil and grass balanced and healthy. The fourth Lawnifi product, Boost, delivers a controlled release nitrogen package that greens up grass quickly and continues to feed for up to six weeks. One bottle of Boost delivers .66 pounds of nitrogen for 5,000 sq. ft., or only .132 pounds per 1,000 sq. ft. Nitrogen is important for your lawn, but the soil must remain nutritionally balanced or it stops absorbing the nutrients you spend money and time applying. Learn more about the importance of carbon in Why is Carbon Important to Your Lawn?. For more information about our Lawnifi product line, check out Why Use Lawnifi Fertilizer? and Granular vs. Liquid Fertilizers.
All in all, maintaining sustainable practices in your lawn doesn’t take very much time or money. Zoysia, St. Augustine grass, centipede grass, bermuda grass, bluegrass and other natural sod varieties are great options to ensure you have the best lawn for the environment. Sod Solutions has an abundance of grass types you can shop for online. With little forethought and planning, you can care for your lawn sustainably in a way that will yield fantastic results.