How often have you heard someone say, only partly in jest, “Oh, why don’t you save your back and let the yard go natural”. Then everyone laughs and nothing much changes. And, there are lots of people out there who honestly believe that letting the lawn go, no fertilizing, no weed control…au natural, makes sense.
The facts don’t support “going natural” as a way to improve the environment. And in addition to doing nothing to improve things, a “natural” lawn, uncared for or maintained, is a real eye sore. The easiest way to make our point, is to refer the “natural lawn advocate” to the most highly populated Canadian cities in Ontario and Quebec. There, over the last 20 years, environmentalists have worked hard to limit the use of just about all lawn care products. The results speak for themselves. Streets, highways, parks and playgrounds have gone from places of beauty, advancing the look and feel of neighborhoods, to weed invested fields of dandelions, thistles and other obnoxious plants.
Lawn area where children once played are rendered useless for anything more than erosion control. Enough said. Many Canadian cities are now rethinking their well-intentioned rush to send lawn care back 100 years; a time when crabgrass ruled and lawns were cut with sickles!
For the open-minded reader, here are just a few facts about the proven benefits of turfgrass and how it enhances the value and beauty of our natural areas, parks, playgrounds and home lawns.
- Grass plants add vital oxygen to the air we breathe. It is estimated that the average home lawn can supply enough oxygen to support a family of four every day throughout the growing season.
- Grass plants filter and remove unwanted gasses from the air, improving the general health of the public. This makes breathing healthier.
- A lawn area around a city building can reduce the temperature as much as 20 degrees on a hot summer day, when compared to the same area on concrete. This saves cooling energy by reducing air conditioning use.
- Turf planted in strips around a field or garden will stop costly soil erosion, preserving top soil.
- Lawns maintained around a home lawn augment the overall landscape, especially when planted in and around trees and shrubs. Together, turfgrass, trees and ornamental plants enhance the natural beauty of the home, can provide a significant psychological boost when we need it most.
So, there should be no debate, home lawns add to the sustainability and health of the environment! When questioned by a reporter about how the application of fertilizers and pest controls have any real benefit, the lawn owner replied, simply, “have a look out the window, next question”!