When establishing a new lawn, some homeowners waver between selecting artificial turf or a natural lawn. While artificial turf may seem like it has its benefits, there are still many advantages to natural lawns that are worth considering.
Among the many considerations to ponder when selecting a new lawn is the grass’s effect on the environment. Along with the reputation of being a “water guzzler”, natural lawns may also seem like they’re more maintenance than artificial turf. This, however, is not the case. You can learn more about the differences between natural and artificial lawns and how they impact the environment here.
One of the many reasons natural lawns surpass artificial grass is because of natural grass’s ability to improve air quality. Today, we’ll dive in and take a closer look at the importance of turfgrass and how natural lawns benefit the atmosphere.
The Importance of Natural Lawns for Air Quality
Understanding the importance of natural turf begins simply with understanding the photosynthesis process. As you are likely aware, it is the process of photosynthesis that allows plants such as grass to convert carbon dioxide into simple sugars. This process, in turn, provides us with the life-giving oxygen we need in order to survive on this planet.
In addition to providing oxygen to support life, natural grass is known to cleanse the air by capturing dust and other airborne particles. After these particles are trapped, they are eventually returned to the soil and broken down by soil microbes.
How Natural Grass Improves Air Quality
There are many reasons why natural turfgrass purifies the air and enhances air quality. From its process of releasing oxygen to its ability to trap airborne particles, natural grass is essential for keeping the air clean.
Natural Turf Provides Oxygen and Captures Carbon
Because natural grass is a living organism, it has the ability to provide oxygen through the photosynthesis process. In fact, it is estimated that a 25 sq. ft. lawn will provide enough oxygen for one person each day during the grass’s active growing season.
Leaving grass clippings to decompose into the soil allows lawns to capture an outstanding number of 37 billion pounds of carbon per year.
By capturing this carbon, natural turfgrass is able to release oxygen as well as convert it to a stable form of carbon through a process called carbon sequestration.
In this process, the turf holds the carbon in the soil, allowing it to transform into organic matter. Organic matter is extremely beneficial for your lawn. Learn more about the importance of carbon in your lawn here.
Natural Turfgrass Reduces Airborne Impurities
Another benefit of natural turfgrass is that it traps airborne particles such as dust and dirt. Unlike artificial grass that needs regular cleaning, natural turfgrass can return the pollutants into the soil with the aid of dew and precipitation. Once the airborne impurities reach the root zone, they are broken down by soil microbes.
Natural Lawns Prevent Soil Particles From Blowing Away
Besides capturing airborne particles such as dust and dirt, a natural lawn also helps prevent soil from blowing into the atmosphere. Because a healthy lawn will cover the entire soil surface, the possibility of soil being moved to another area by the wind is greatly reduced.
In summary, there are countless benefits to choosing a natural lawn over artificial turf. Air quality is just one of the many factors to consider when deciding which lawn is best for you. We hope this article helped you understand the importance of natural lawns for air quality and how grass purifies the air.
- Maryland Institute of Applied Agriculture, “Maryland Turfgrass Survey: An Economic Value Study,” University of Maryland, 1996.
- Milesi, C., S.W. Running, C.D. Elvidge, J.B. Dietz, B.T. Tuttle and R.R. Nemani, “Mapping and Modeling the Biogeochemical Cycling of Turf Grasses in the United States,” NASA Ames Research Center, 2005.