(BPT) - Now that the temperatures have warmed, families are emerging from weather-imposed hibernation to delight once again in outdoor living. For some homeowners, however, the spring season can be fraught with embarrassment as they covet their neighbor’s lush lawn and seek help from Mother Nature (and her helpers) to fix all that ails within their own backyards.
Let’s face it. We all want a beautiful carpet of green to create the backdrop for entertaining, playing and relaxing. However, what you may not realize is the benefits of a beautiful lawn go well beyond its aesthetics.
Well-maintained lawns support healthy community environments. For instance, grass captures dust, smoke particles and other pollutants to help keep air cleaner. Plus, grasses absorb carbon dioxide and break it down into oxygen and carbon.
Healthy lawns also protect important water resources. A thriving lawn can help absorb unhealthy runoff that would otherwise reach water sources used by communities. An average, healthy lawn can absorb more than 6,000 gallons of water from a single rainfall, according to the Journal of Environmental Quality.
Additionally, lawns are natural coolants. Lawns can be 31 degrees cooler than asphalt and 20 degrees cooler than bare soil. Just consider: If you don't have to turn on the air conditioner, you save energy and reduce your electric bill.
Communities that house healthy lawns, parks and commercially landscaped spaces just look nicer and feel more welcoming. Properly managed green spaces also help minimize the growth of weeds that can cause allergies, making it difficult for residents to enjoy time outdoors. Additionally, studies show that public green spaces can reduce stress, lower health care costs and improve quality of life.
Noise reduction is another big benefit for communities with healthy landscapes, particularly important in urban settings. Studies show that lawns and landscapes can reduce noise levels by 20 to 30 percent over hard surfaces like concrete and pavement. More than just providing a quiet, calm space, healthy landscapes make communities safer, too. Neighborhoods with tree-lined streets and larger yards have reduced crime rates, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
The benefits of a healthy lawn are limitless — environmentally, emotionally and financially. Take the first step in creating a beautiful — and healthy— lawn by consulting a lawn care professional. Find one near you using the National Association of Landscape Professionals' directory at www.loveyourlandscape.org/find-a-pro.
Get a head start on smart lawn care with these fast tips from the experts at NALP:
1. Daily watering is not necessary. Instead, give your lawn a deep soak every couple of days, so the moisture can penetrate the soil down to the roots.
2. When mowing, never remove more than one-third of a grass blade for a finished height of 2 to 3 inches.
3. Keep grass clippings on the lawn after mowing. They break down and provide nitrogen and nutrients to the soil for a healthier lawn.
4. Change directions when mowing. The pattern change will control coarse grass and create more even surfaces.
For more lawn care tips and information on the benefits of a healthy lawn, visit www.loveyourlandscape.org.