This month on April 22nd, we’ll enjoy Earth Day, a celebration of the earth we live on. It’s an amazing place, this planet, created by God for us to live on and enjoy. Too bad we humans seem to mess it up at times. From one who actually makes his living by tending to the earth, loves the outdoors, and who spent over 4 months hiking through a beautiful part of our earth on the Appalachian Trail 5 years ago, I truly do love the earth and the benefits and bounty it provides.
For most homeowners in the Carolina area, our part of the earth we’re most responsible for is our lawn and landscape. A well-cared for lawn not only looks good and adds value to a home, it also provides real environmental benefits to urban cities such as the Charlotte or Asheville area. A 50×50 foot lawn area (that’s pretty small actually) will supply enough oxygen generation for a family of four, while absorbing harmful carbon dioxide and other gasses. Lawns in our county can store up to 37 billion tons of carbon, lessening the impact of global warming on our earth. The air temperature over grass can be up to 30 degrees cooler than the air over a blacktop driveway or parking lot. So a healthy green lawn and landscaping will cool our cities, lessening the heat trapping effect of concrete. Lawns and landscapes help buffer sound pollution, trap dirt, and prevent soil erosion, all of which help make our cities more livable.
According to a recent Harris Poll, most homeowners love their lawns, with 88% of Americans saying that having a nice lawn and landscape is important. A well cared for lawn and landscape has solid economic value, adding up to 15% to the value of a home most experts agree. Add the aesthetic and psychological benefits of enjoying a nice-looking lawn, and it just makes sense to do what we can to appreciate and care for our lawns well.
The products and the processes that professionals and homeowners use to provide the results of a healthy green lawn are safe and pose hardly any risk to people, pets, and the environment. It’s important to follow label instructions, and practice Integrated Pest Management, which basically means treating for weeds and pests only if there is a problem that justifies that treatment. Using organic-based and slow-release fertilizers at the proper times and using correct rates is important. And cultural practices such as proper mowing and irrigation also can go a long way towards growing a healthy lawn in conjunction with environmentally responsible application of fertilizers and weed-control products.
So April is a great time to invest in your little part of the earth and love your lawn, by taking care of it responsibly, and nurture it to provide the amazing benefits that it can provide us. For more information on the benefits and care of lawns, visit www.loveyourlandscape.org or www.thelawninstitute.org.