Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  Energy News  

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Grow, mow, mulch: Finding lawn's value
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Feb 10, 2017

Law collecting greenhouse gas samples from turf plots using a vented flux chamber. Image courtesy Jon Trappe.

Cranking up the lawn mower on a Saturday afternoon may be a child's most dreaded chore. But little does he or she know that it also affects how much carbon and nitrogen are present in the soil below the grass.

Quincy Law of Purdue University studies many aspects of lawn care and their effects on the soil. Does the type of turf grass make a difference? Does it matter if grass clippings are left on the lawn or picked up? How frequently should people mow their lawns?

"My research demonstrates one of the many environmental benefits of natural grass lawns, golf courses, athletic fields, cemeteries, and similar areas," he explains. "Grasses are able to remove carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from the atmosphere and deposit it into the soil as organic matter."

Law and his team found that the amount of carbon deposited into the soil was affected by the species of grass and how it was mown. Specifically, tall fescue resulted in more soil carbon than Kentucky bluegrass. However, tall fescue required more frequent mowing. Both are common grasses used in lawns in the United States.

"Soil is a nonrenewable resource that must be protected, which soil carbon helps to do," he says. "Soil carbon helps to bind soil particles and build soil structure. It also decreases the risk of runoff and erosion, and improves soil-water relations."

In addition, returning grass clippings increased both soil carbon and nitrogen compared to when clippings were collected. Grass clippings contain these elements and if the clippings are returned to the soil, they break down and are released into the soil.

In the soil they affect the carbon and nitrogen levels in two ways: directly by simply being present but also indirectly by serving as fertilizer for the grass.

However, Law notes it is difficult to make specific species recommendations in this area. To get more grass clippings, the grass has to be mowed more often, which can cause problems.

Lawn mowers, like cars and trucks, produce their own carbon emissions and can offset some of the benefits of increased grass clippings. Improvements in mower efficiency and alternative fuel sources may help offset the mower emissions in the future, he says.

"By carefully selecting a grass and properly managing grass clippings, homeowners can increase the carbon sequestered in the soil," he says. "While this will not single-handedly significantly reduce carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, it is still helpful."

For example, Law's research shows that the carbon deposited by the grass more than offsets the carbon emitted from managing the lawn and helps to justify those emissions. It can be beneficial in that it allows a way for an individual to reduce his or her net carbon footprint.

Lawns do more than look good, Law adds. They provide recreational areas as well as environmental and societal benefits. For those looking for more information about the best way to manage their turf, he says a local university extension service is a great source of help.

"I grew up playing golf and immediately fell in love with working on a golf course, so I have always enjoyed working closely with nature," Law says. "Additionally, I have a family history of farming. My brother currently farms land that has been in our family for over 150 years, and soil conservation has always been a priority. As my grandfather said, 'Harvest the crop, not the land.' "

Research paper

Comment on this article using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
American Society of Agronomy
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Sticky gels turn insect-sized drones into artificial pollinators
Washington DC (SPX) Feb 10, 2017
As bees slip onto the endangered species list in the United States, researchers in Japan are pollinating lilies with insect-sized drones. The undersides of these artificial pollinators are coated with horse hairs and an ionic gel just sticky enough to pick up pollen from one flower and deposit it onto another. Far from replacing bees, the drones' designers are hopeful that their invention ... read more

NASA Langley Ozone Sensor Set for Launch to Space Station

Mobile phone and satellite data to map poverty

NASA Makes an EPIC Update to Website for Daily Earth Pics

Subscale Glider Could Assist in Weather Studies, Prediction

India's Satnav Goes Out of Whack as Orbiting Atomic Clocks Break

NASA space radio could change how flights are tracked worldwide

ISRO to Launch Standby Navigation Satellite to Replace IRNSS-1A

First-ever GPS data release to boost space-weather science

Why nature restoration takes time

Wetlands play vital role in carbon storage, study finds

Amazon forest was transformed by ancient people: study

Honduras manages to stall pine-munching bugs' march

Alberta backing bioenergy programs

A better way to farm algae

DuPont Industrial Biosciences to develop new high-efficiency biogas enzyme method

Cathay Pacific to cut emissions with switch to biofuel

Powerful change: A profile of today's solar consumer

French government gets renewable energy endorsement

EU to phase out China solar panel duties

NREL research pinpoints promise of polycrystalline perovskites

British grid drawing power from new offshore wind farm

Prysmian UK to supply land cable connections for East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm

Russia's nuclear giant pushes into wind energy

The power of wind energy and how to use it

Do more to advance CCS, BHP Billiton says

Beijing's mayor vows step away from coal

EU must shut coal plants by 2030 to meet climate pledge: study

Smog chokes coal-addicted Poland

China villages cheer Robin Hood-like hero in spring festival

Exile, jail, abduction: the hazardous lives of China's rich

Missing Chinese billionaire targeted over stocks crash: report

'Abduction' of China tycoon sparks fear in Hong Kong

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement