The benefits of turf to the environment are so wide‑ranging that life as we know it could not exist without it. To find out more click on the numbers on the image above or use the arrow keys besides the text below.
Absorbs rainfall and reduces run-off
The organic matter in turf acts like a sponge to store water temporarily in the event of heavy rain and help prevent localised flooding. Turf improves soil structure through the activity of bacteria, fungi, organic matter and the larger organisms like earthworms and arthropods. All this leads to increased soil porosity and water infiltration which is the reason why turf, and the soil under it, is so efficient at passing rain water down through the soil profile and into the aquifers below.
Turf helps purify rainwater because the root mass and microbes act as filters which capture and breakdown pollutants. Water moves through the soil profile and helps recharge groundwater which eventually replenishes the aquifers which provide a proportion of our drinking water.
Gives us the air we breathe
Grass is the third most important source of oxygen behind trees and algae. A 50 foot x 50 foot lawn produces enough oxygen for a family of four every day. An acre of turf produces more oxygen than an acre of rainforest.
Like all plants, grass absorbs carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and 2 turns it into oxygen (O2) and carbohydrate during the chemical process called photosynthesis which goes on inside plants’ cells. The difference between turf and other plants is the huge number of individual plants involved. There are 10 million grass plants in an average lawn, which means that there is a lot of CO2 absorbed, and a lot of O2 and carbohydrate produced. Imagine the impact of this on a national, or global, scale!
Provides an environment for living things
Turf soils contain a vast array of living organisms, ranging from larger creatures such as larvae of beetles and flies, spiders, millipedes, earthworms and insects, to microorganisms including, bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes, yeasts, algae and protozoa. Microorganisms break down proteins and carbohydrates in dead leaves and roots into simple compounds that grass plants can re-use.
Soil bacteria are also doing the very important job of turning atmospheric nitrogen into a form that plants can use. This is how grass gets most of its nitrogen, an essential nutrient it needs to thrive. So the grass is feeding the microorganisms, and the microorganisms feed the grass. This relationship is responsible for the constant cycling of nitrogen and carbon going on beneath our feet.
Cools the surface of the earth
The use of turf in the urban environment can lead to significantly lower surface temperatures during the summer. A turf surface can be 10-14 degrees Celsius cooler than a concrete or tarmac surface, going some way to reducing the ‘urban heat island’ effect.
Filters and breaks-down pollutants
Gaseous pollutants like nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, hydrogen fluoride and peroxyacetyl nitrate, are absorbed by grass leaves and broken down into their harmless constituents. Grasses also trap tons of dust and dirt released into the atmosphere. This dust, dirt and even smoke is washed into the soil by rainfall where pollutants are broken down by soil bacteria.
The perfect surface for leisure and sport
There is no better surface for leisure and sport. The smell and feel of grass is evocative and cannot be imitated. What better feeling is there than walking barefoot on a lawn on a warm summer’s day? For rest and relaxation, picnics and play, families and football teams, croquet and cricket, grass plays an important role in our landscape.
Improves health and wellbeing
Green space makes us happier - FACT! Studies have shown that people living and working in green areas show less signs of depression and anxiety and greater life satisfaction. Furthermore, it has been observed that when people move into greener areas, the improvement in mental well-being is immediate and lasting.