April is one of the most exciting months of the year. In many parts of the country it marks the first sign of spring weather, with the snow just about gone and the daily temperatures rising. April weather makes the long, cold winter seem like a distant memory and the summer well within arm’s reach. We’re also enjoying longer daylight hours due to the time change, and our lawns are starting to green up and grow for the year.
This month also marks the beginning of the maintenance season for most lawn care pros, and it is an ideal time to celebrate National Lawn Care Month. April was designated this honor by the Professional Lawn Care Association of America (now known as The Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) after merging with the Associated Landscape Contractors Association in 2005) to recognize the ways that turfgrass makes a positive contribution to the environment, as well as to remind consumers about the benefits of a healthy lawn. And, the benefits are endless:
- A lawn is a natural provider for our ecosystem. It is reported that the front lawns of just eight average homes have the cooling effect of about 70 tons of air-conditioning.
- Turfgrasses can trap most of the estimated 12 tons of dust and dirt released annually in the U.S. atmosphere, preventing them from irritating respiratory systems and skin of those who suffer from asthma, eczema and allergies.
- A grass area measuring 50 by 50 feet can absorb enough carbon dioxide, ozone, hydrogen fluoride and sulfur dioxide, and release enough oxygen, to meet the needs of a family of four.
- A healthy lawn can increase the real estate market value of a home and its salability. A Gallup Survey found that 62 percent of homeowners in the United States believe the investment recovery rate of lawns and landscaping is 100 to 200 percent.
- Turf has a high-shoot density and root mass, which help it stabilize soil, and therefore, prevent erosion.
- Turfgrass protects the quality of groundwater and can reduce water runoff and protect surface water quality.
- Natural scenery, including well-maintained turf, is said to have positive therapeutic effects, helping people recover from illnesses quicker.
These are just a few of the positives that a healthy lawn has, and even in the age of water restrictions and legislation, turf still has an important place in the environment. It is estimated there are more than 23 million acres of lawns in the country, and that Americans spend close to $30 billion a year to maintain them. With summer only a couple of months away, this is a good time to educate your clients—and clients-to-be—about the importance of well-cared-for lawns with proper turf management practices year-round. With spring fever taking hold, they are eager to get out and enjoy their lawns.
Amy K. Hill