Thursday July 23, the Ocean River Institute’s Natural Lawn Care for Healthy Soils Competition was in Bridgewater. Jacklyn Norris (left) of Bridgewater University Environmental Action Team was assisted by Susanna Buckley (Connecticut College) and Adibah Shaikh (U Mass Lowell). The winning towns are those with the greatest number of households pledging to maintain natural lawns without spreading quick-release fertilizer or harmful pesticides and herbicides.
Natural lawns in Springfield that were cut every three weeks instead of weekly with the blade set high and grass clippings left on the turf were pollinated by 96 species of bees. Save money on lawn care while saving bees, worms, microbes, archaea, springtails, nematodes, rotifers, tardigrades, the full rhizosphere. Grass plants are fed by fungi and bacteria as part of the vast mycorrhizae network, called the wood wide web.
Lawn grasses are the best plants at fighting climate change because with photosynthesis grasses push out of their root tips carbohydrates, liquid carbon, to build soil. For every ton of root exudate, grasses pull out of the air four tons of carbon dioxide. A natural lawn can produce an inch of soil in a year. With four inches of soil your lawn can hold seven inches of rainwater to better protect your home from extreme weather events.
When an acre of lawn grass increases soil depth by an inch, it has removed 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. With more than two thousand square miles (1,280,000 acres) of residential lawns in Massachusetts, there is much we can do at home, lawn by lawn, to reverse climate change.
Let nature do the work. Together, we can cool our neighborhoods with more green and cool our planet with less smothering greenhouse gasses.
To add a pledge to your town’s score or to champion your own team, visit the Ocean River Institute’s Team Page website.