Healthy lawns reduce carbon footprints (11-24-2008)
Your Extension Experts
Turfgrass Extension Specialist/Weed Scientist/Weed Control-Turf and Ornamentals
Many environmental discussions have been centered recently around the greenhouse gas effects of carbon pollutants in the environment and combustible engines that are responsible for much of it. There's good news for lawns and lawnmowers, however. A new study from a respected energy expert shows that a well managed lawn can sequester and store significant amounts of carbon and at least four times more carbon than produced by the mower cutting it. The study goes on to report that for a lawn to maximize its carbon intake you must cut it regularly, leave the clippings, and provide responsible watering. Letting the lawn go to seed or into a dormant state will reduce its effectiveness of carbon intake. Mowing grass and pruning shrubs and trees keep them in a growing state which ensures they are actively pulling carbon dioxide from the air.
The next time you begrudge the chore of mowing your lawn you can at least have pleasure in knowing that you and your lawn are doing your part in helping to improve the environment.
Published November 24, 2008
Dr. Wayne Wells is an Extension Professor and Turfgrass Specialist. His mailing address is Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Mail Stop 9555, Mississippi State, MS 39762. firstname.lastname@example.org