Natural Turfgrass, your lawn… the neighborhood park… the school soccer field… …much more than just a pretty place.
Landscapes serve a much-needed purpose in our communities. Areas landscaped with trees, plants and turf reduce glare, convert carbon dioxide to oxygen, cool the environment, filter urban run-off, and reduce noise pollution by up to 50%. Landscaped areas also shelter wildlife, and provide sanctuaries for relaxation, recreation, contemplation and regeneration. Yet without scientific basis, some have been calling for reducing the use of natural turfgrass. You should know better. Read on and discover how green turfgrass really is.
Sequesters and Retains Carbon
Well managed lawns capture and storefour times more carbon from the air than is produced by the engine of today’s lawnmowers. In fact, carbon storage in turf is comparable to the rate of carbon storage in land situated in the Conservation Reserve Program. One soccer field can offset the carbon produced by a car driving 3,000 miles! Natural turf grass takes in carbon dioxide, ozone, hydrogen fluoride, and peroxyacetyl nitrate – the worst group of atmospheric pollutants.
Produces Oxygen and reduces Disease carrying Dust
Turf is also an amazing oxygen producer. A 50 x 50 ft. lawn provides enough oxygen for a family of four. Where turfgrass is removed, the amount of smog and dust that carries disease-causing bacteria and viruses, in the air increases as a result of an insufficient numbers of plants to hold down the dust and trap particulate pollutants.
Dissipates Heat & Cools the Environment
Temperatures around grassy areas are about 25 degrees cooler than around concrete or asphalt. Eight healthy front lawns have the cooling effect of 70 tons of air conditioning.
Recharges and Filters Groundwaterand Capture Nutrients
Landscaped properties reduce storm water runoff reducing demand on public sewer systems and waste water treatment plants. An acre of turfgrass left in open space provides an average of 600,000 gallons of water recharge per year. Turf systems are not only efficient at catching and filtering water, but are also very efficient at holding on to nutrients. Nutrients like phosphorus are fixed onto soil particles or taken up by the plant and they do not leach out readily.
Controls Soil Erosion & Restores Soil Quality
Turfgrass roots penetrate into the soil and hold particles so they are not lost by wind and water erosion. One single grass plant grown under ideal conditions has 387 miles of roots. A high proportion of the world's most fertile soils has been developed under a vegetative cover of grass.
Provides a Safe Playing Surface & Reduces Injuries
Turfgrasses provide a unique, low-cost cushioning effect that reduces injuries to the participants when compared with poorly or nonturfed soils, particularly in the more active contact sports like football, rugby, and soccer.
Diminishes Noise Pollution
Grasses reduce undesirable noise levels by 20-30%.If a grassy turf is planted on a barrier slope facing the noise source, reduction of noise can be as much as 8-10 decibels.”
Minimizes Nuisance Pests
A lawn mowed a 1-2 inches is not a safe home for many small animals and they will seek taller cover.
Preserves Natural Wildlife Habitat
Lawns serve as a source of food for birds.
>Serves as a Fire Barrier
Healthy green turf will not sustain fire as dense woody vegetation does, thus a buffer zone of well-maintained turfgrass around a building can also impede the spread of fire.
However, green spaces are more than just “pollution scrubbers.” Social scientists in numerous studies have found that green spaces affect our everyday moods, activities, and emotional health. They improve our quality of life in ways that are often underestimated. Whether we are active in urban nature (planting trees, growing gardens) or passively encounter city green (such as a stroll through a park or even just occasionally looking at greenscapes through a window), researchers have found that we experience personal benefits that affect how we feel and function.
Boosts Human Productivity
A turfed landscape area surrounding a factory or business is an asset in conveying a favorable we care impression to employees and the general public. These employees have been found to have lower levels of perceived job stress.
Creates Jobs and Economic Benefit
There were nearly 100,000 firms in the Landscaping services sector in the U.S. in 2007. Direct employment was 631,511 jobs with a total payroll of 19.13 Billion dollars. Landscape services and design accounted for 54.5 Billion dollars in value added.
Communities receive these and other benefits to the extent that they value and care for landscaped areas. However, too many elected officials don't understand the landscaping industry's critical role in our economy and the many ways that it enhances and protects the quality of life enjoyed by the communities served.
The National Hispanic Landscape Alliance recognizes that our industry has a responsibility to be good stewards of the environment, and to advocate for the promotion of environmentally responsible landscape practices.
The National Hispanic Landscape Alliance closely monitors issues that impact the industry, maintains a legislative consulting firm for assistance with national and state issues, and advocates in collaboration with other industry associations. With and on behalf of its members, the NHLA engages government and elected officials at both federal and state levels in support of industry positions.
The voice of every NHLA member counts! Educating policymakers and regulators on the benefits of environmentally responsible landscape practices is essential to the future of our industry and the NHLA makes it easy for your voice to be heard on state and federal matters that can affect your business and that of your suppliers and contractors, the livelihood of your employees, and the quality of life in the communities where you live and work.