Why is turf (lawns and sod) so important in the landscape?

Why is turf (lawns and sod) so important in the landscape?  With recent problems of grub infestations in the Ottawa area many have chosen to get rid of their turf. But turf is very important within the landscape as there are many benefits of turf.

Turf grass is North America’s largest agricultural crop. Turf grass is an integral part of our serene and beautiful outdoor living space.

turfBenefits of turf grass (lawns and sod):
1) Business and Economic Improvement: lawns increase the value of our property by 15 to 20 per cent. They improve curb appeal. Real estate agents know that well maintained landscapes and turf sell homes quicker and for higher values. Property managers say that well-maintained landscapes including turf grass increase tenant satisfaction and lower vacancy rates.
2) Climate Control: turf serves as a natural air-conditioner. On a hot day compare the difference between standing on pavement and standing on turf. The difference in temperature and comfort is measurable. The turf on eight average-sized healthy front lawns has the cooling effect of 70 tons of air conditioning which is enough for 16 average homes.
3) Dust Filter: turf traps dust and smoke particles from the air and acts as a filter for the air we breathe. Very important in urban areas where dust generated by cars and trucks can be trapped and washed down into the soil.
4) Erosion Control: grass offers a very efficient and inexpensive erosion control function. Turf intercepts raindrops before they disturb the soil. Turf promotes water percolation rather than runoff. Our streams and drainage infrastructures would be absolutely overwhelmed if it wasn’t for turf grass’s water retention capabilities. Our fertile soil would be lost if the turf biomass was not so efficient at slowing water runoff.
5) Environmental Benefits: grass plants capture and use greenhouse gases, thereby counteracting climate change. Turf also traps air pollution and generates much of the oxygen we breathe. A 50’x50’ lawn produces enough oxygen for a family of four to breathe for one year. Turf also acts as a barrier that deters some chemicals from entering the soil profile. The natural shedding of turf grass stems and leaves as well as grass-cycling clippings contribute large amounts of valuable organic matter to the soil over a number of years.
6) Injury Reducer: well-maintained turf grass areas serve as excellent sports surfaces as turf helps to absorb physical impact and thus reduces sports injuries. As a playing surface it is safer than artificial grass or bare soil. It provides traction and cushioning.
7) Garbage Prevention: garbage is less likely to be thrown on a landscape that is well maintained.
8) Therapeutic Benefits: turf and green spaces provide mental health benefits. Looking at images and at real landscapes and plants can help reduce stress. Grass y areas in golf courses, parks, cemeteries and our homes can create feelings of peacefulness and remind us that the earth is alive.
9) Noise Reducer: grassy areas can decrease noise by 8 to 10 decibels. This is especially important in urban locations.
10) Water Filter: Not only does grass slow down water and soil runoff but it also protects surface water quality as it filters and cleans the water percolating down into streams, drainage systems and aquifers.
11) Recreation: grass is an integral part of enjoying activities of play for exercise and relaxation. Sports such as soccer, baseball, Frisbee, golf, crochet require turf grass. Family enjoyment of playing catch, flying a kite, having a picnic or relaxing on our lawn can be a healthy part of our lives.

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