Are Lawns Green or NotAre Lawns Green or Not
There is been a great deal of discussion on the Internet about people helping the environment by not growing a lawn, various environmental activists are instead encouraging people to grow plants and moss in their garden instead of the traditional green space. The movement has some resistance as generally, people enjoy lawns as they provide a nice green area in the garden as well as a practical living location.
However, several people have highlighted that there is very little biodiversity in a lawn and that they also consume a large amount of fertilizer and energy. In the United Kingdom lawns are particularly popular as they thrive in an environment without extreme weather, even a lawn that is not taking care of will still do quite well.
It is not completely necessary to get rid of a lawn if you want to be more environmentally friendly, there are several steps that you can take in order to make your lawn a more environmentally sound option. People are regularly cutting their lawns with a lawnmower that is driven by electricity or fossil fuels if you switch to a manual lawnmower you will be helping to protect the environment. Push mowers also have the additional benefit that they are cheaper than their petrol alternatives and also provide you with a fairly decent workout.
The rising cost of fuel and increasing environmental awareness of the population has meant that push mowers are making something of a comeback. Many companies are releasing new models that have been designed in an ergonomic way so that they are easier to use.
Nitrogen-based fertilizers are a very popular option for people who want to encourage their lawn to grow thick and green. However, the companies that manufacture this type of fertilizer produce a great deal of greenhouse gas so it is a good idea to find a more environmentally friendly alternative. A fantastic option is to use something called micro clover, these are a type of plant that takes nitrogen from the air and put it into the lawn. Grass seed mixes that include micro clover are available and will ensure that you have a green but environmentally sustainable lawn.
Lawns are not just something that is fertilized in the summer, the roots of grass continue to grow throughout the winter and fertilizing a lawn in the autumn is common. Generally, phosphorous-based fertilizers are used but these are not sustainable as phosphorous is a resource that must be mined. There is however a source of phosphorous in your own backyard: dandelion roots are rich in the substance and it is easy to use them as an alternative.
A common fear during hot summers is that a lawn will die. People see the lawn turning brown through lack of water and worry that it will not return. Grass does not die in these conditions simply turns dormant, when the rains return the grass will go back to its original green state. Therefore it is unnecessary to water your lawn with the hose if you can bear it is looking brown for a few weeks.
There are several other methods that can be employed by someone who wants to have an environmentally friendly lawn. A popular option is to aerate the soil with a fork – go over the ground and push deep holes into the soil.
Turfgrass is generally a green desert as far as pollinators and other insects are concerned and Mowers do emit greenhouse gas. Over-fertilizing has been connected to algae blooms In Lakes and oceans as well as groundwater contamination. The Fert issue is largely from agriculture though.
On the other hand, Turf Also produces a fair amount of oxygen, possibly enough to offset the C02 emissions from your weekly mowing, I’d like someone to fact checks that.
Turf is beautiful and creates a wonderful pop to landscape plantings, which may not do much environmentally but I think it certainly has a nice effect on neighborhoods and people.
Everything we do is going to have positive and negative effects on the world, we just have to do our best to balance it out or ideally come out ahead.
Another Way to Think About Lawns
It depends on what you have it compared to. Is it versus a hardscaped surface, a vegetable garden, a wildflower preserve, left completely natural? What is the climate? Are chemicals and fertilizers used or not?
I believe that in arid climates, lawns are bad. They simply use too much water that is in short supply in those areas. Large regions globally are draining aquifers at a fast clip, and once those are done the water restrictions will be significant. Having a lawn in Las Vegas, for example, is silly.
In climates with ample and sustainable access to fresh water, watering isn’t a big issue so who cares on that angle.
The next thing to tackle is chemicals. Heavy consumer use of chemicals that have ecological impacts is lame. Using none is great, but they can be used responsibly.
The next thing is fertilizer. Fertilizer runoff is lame. Using less of it, and using stuff that doesn’t run off (organics, some slow release synthetics, light applications, mulching) is cool. That doesn’t make lawns evil – lawns can survive with NO fertilizers, and organics are just fine.
The next thing is versus native plants or a naturalized surface. Well, now you can’t use it to play on or have events on, so it sucks for you and your family. The grass is nice for kids and adults. Natural is better for environmental sustainability since it’s low-input and supports insect populations (maybe limited small animals as well), but it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Have a lawn made of low-input cultivars adequate for your needs, and let the rest of the property serve another purpose. Providing a uniform, the manicured look is totally reasonable.
Lawns also ARE a lot of plant matter which means they provide drainage, cool the area, produce oxygen.
So lawns CAN be great? If you grow it in a lawn-friendly climate, you do it in an environmentally responsible way, and you grow a lawn for your needs and no more, then the environmentalists should be happy and back off.