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Lawns are for more than just looks. Maintaining a healthy, thick lawn also benefits the environment. Unlike hard surfaces such as concrete, asphalt, and wood, lawn grass helps clean the air, trap carbon dioxide, reduce erosion from stormwater runoff, improve soil, decrease noise pollution, and reduce temperatures.
Here’s a little more on the benefits of grass both for you and for the environment around you.
Like all living plants, grass takes up carbon dioxide and releases oxygen. Oxygen is essential for human life, but trapping carbon dioxide is also crucial, as too much CO2 can lead to elevated air temperatures and other environmental dangers. Grass not only removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but it also traps dust to keep it out of both the air and your lungs. Less dust blowing around means easier breathing, but also cleaner cars, cleaner houses, and cleaner windows.
If there’s any area of your yard that isn’t covered with lush lawn, you’ve witnessed what happens during a hard rain: The soil, mulch, or gravel washes away, creating ruts, divots, and holes. Of course, all of those materials—and all the water—have to go somewhere. They start by clogging the storm drains, potentially leading to flooded streets and houses, then eventually end up in creeks and lakes that become cloudy and polluted. A lawn, however, will slow the runoff, allowing time for the stormwater to seep back into the groundwater system.
Compacted soil (soil without good structure) doesn’t allow water to sink into it, which means that groundwater resources don’t get replenished when it rains—and that can be a problem in areas that rely on precipitation for drinking water. Another benefit of grass is that it keeps the soil structure loose and open, with plenty of pores for water to soak down into.
When you walk through a city or even a crowded suburban area, you may notice how loud it is compared to your neighborhood. That’s because lots of hard surfaces equal lots of areas for sound to bounce off. One big grass benefit is that a lawn acts like a blanket or insulation panel, absorbing sounds from people, cars, trucks, and animals.
Urban areas with lots of buildings and concrete tend to be significantly warmer than surrounding areas that have a lot more grass and trees. What’s more, it takes more energy to cool a building surrounded by concrete than it does one surrounded with grass. Not only will a lush lawn help keep your yard cooler, but you may pay less for your AC bill, too.