New Research: Lawns Aren't Green

Lawns - long known to be the main culprit in urban water consumption, now can be blamed for another environmental woe - greenhouse gas producer in excess of whatever carbon it 'sinks'. The gas is nitrous oxide - 300 times more potent than CO2.

Grass, like most plants, has long been thought as instrumental to counteracting global warming by sequestering atmospheric carbon into the soil as well as converting carbon dioxide into oxygen. In this University of California at Irvine study, soon to be published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, shows that the lawns cause far more emissions than they store in the soil.

"(G)reenhouse gas emissions from fertilizer production, mowing, leaf blowing and other lawn management practices are four times greater than the amount of carbon stored by ornamental grass in parks, a UC Irvine study shows. These emissions include nitrous oxide released from soil after fertilization. Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas that's 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide."

Thanks to Bob Maginnis

Full Story: Urban 'green' spaces may contribute to global warming, UCI study finds



Alternatives to turf needed

Replacing turf lawn with perennial groundcovers is a good option. Clover at leasts fixes nitrogen and doesn't have to be mowed nearly as often.
There is a native pachysandra on the East Coast, and many beautiful flowering perennials. Add more trees and shrubs or meadows are also critical for improving habitat.

The mow, mow, mow then leafblow cycle has to go.

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