Healthy Lawns for a Healthy Earth

Uncle says that the bottled water at the gas station is more expensive than the gasoline.  We but water tanks, water filters, water jugs and water piks.  We get our water boiled, distilled, chlorinated, oxidized and brewed.  Home, health, and industry depend on clean water.  But we overlook Mother Nature’s most important water filter.  We even walk all over it.
Thousands of billions of grass plants protect our earth and filter our groundwater.  In an average 10,000 square foot lawn, there are 8 million individual grass plants.  These tightly growing grass leaves are responsible for the photosynthesis that makes the grass plant grow, and in the process, they exchange the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for clean, pure oxygen.
Also, the tightly knit grass carpet traps urban air pollutants so that they are not recycled into the atmosphere.  The worst of these include ozone, hydrogen fluoride, sulfur dioxide and peroxyacetyl nitrate.  They are all absorbed, recycled, and made harmless by transformation of turfgrass.  Science has no filter as efficient as grass.

Below ground grassroots are even more impressive.  A single grass plant can generate millions of individual roots that weave miles of individual fibers.  Multiplied by 8 million plants, this forms a massive underground filter which traps and digests atmospheric pollutants.
This root mass is home to billions of microorganisms which work together to build up the humus and soil fertility and reduce carbon dioxide.  This complex organic system transforms lawn fertilizers and herbicides into healthy plants and good organic matter.  It is grass that filters our groundwater and regenerates the deep black soils so prized by gardeners.  The thick black soils of the world are found in our prairies, not in our rain forests.

See Related: Healthy Lawn Contributes to Cleaner Water
The rain that falls on the streets and parking lots of our cities quickly runs off to rivers and streams.  This runoff is not filtered by urban lawns but carries with it vehicle and industrial residue.  In the United States, there are some 40 million acres of turfgrass.  Each acre captures an average of 600,000 gallons of groundwater recharge every year.  In modern urban design, if we want more clean water, we need more healthy green grass.

The Emperors of China and Rome, the Mayans, and the Aztecs, the ancient Persians, the Kings of England and France, all valued turfgrass in the design of their cities and palaces.  Some modern architects and urban planners have forgotten these ancient lessons. Today there is a misguided notion that cities need more concrete and less grass. They need a little more science.  They also need to talk to more eight-year-olds. When its time to play ball, everyone would rather play on grass.