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Home Lawn and Turf in Mississippi

Mississippi Turfgrass digital edition

The home lawn and turf areas surrounding churches, parks, and office buildings do more than just serve as pleasant green backdrops. The grass plants that make up the lawns serve as miniature air-conditioners and pollution-abatement centers.

On a block of eight houses, the front lawns have the cooling effect of 70 tons of air-conditioning. The plants, in transpiring water to cool themselves, also cool the surrounding area. Roughly 50 percent of the heat striking a turf area is eliminated by transpiration. When the temperature of the sidewalk is 100 °F, the temperature of the adjacent turf remains near 75 °F. This cooling may last into the night, with studies showing a 13-degree cooling at 9 p.m.

This air-conditioning is not free, however. An average 5,000-square-foot lawn transpires about 3,000 gallons of water on a hot summer day. If this water is not supplied by rain, it must be applied by some other means.

Turfgrass also functions as a noise barrier. Studies at the Riverbank Acoustical Laboratory in Geneva, Illinois, found Kentucky bluegrass turf more sound-absorbent than a heavy carpet on a felt pad.

One of the most significant byproducts of a living, green backdrop is its effect upon the atmosphere. A 250-square-foot lawn produces enough oxygen for a family of four. The average lawn traps significant amounts of carbon dioxide, peroxyacetyl nitrates, and ozone, as well as particulate matter.

A most important effect is the prevention of soil erosion and enhancement of ground water recharge. Research shows infiltration is much higher on turfed areas than on areas of bare ground. The higher infiltration prevents water from running off and encourages it to enter the groundwater stream. Grass roots bind the soil more effectively than any other plant.

Many gardeners enjoy maintaining a quality turf. Others despise lawn work and demand a low-maintenance turfgrass. Still others are confused about how to keep a lawn. You don’t have to be an expert to have a quality lawn; neither do you have to spend all your leisure time working on it. By learning a few basic facts about turfgrass, you can have the best lawn on the block. Also, you can choose a turfgrass to suit the time and money you have for maintenance.

The question is, “What is the best lawn grass for you?” Choosing the best grass involves personal judgment based on your needs and the conditions of your property. Each variety of grass has its advantages and disadvantages. Some grow in the shade; others need full sun. Some grow in all parts of the state; some grow only in certain areas. Some require lots of time and patience; others are less troublesome. Some are fast growers, and some are slow growers.

Sound confusing? It really isn’t. Be aware of the great versatility of lawn grasses and the choices you have. Remember, a quality lawn can make or break your landscape design. Learning the basics of turf-grass establishment and care, followed by a little hard work, will ensure success.

Content for the Home Lawn section of MSUcares is from Extension Publication #1322 - Establish and Manage Your Home Lawn.