Jay Lauer
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Jay Lauer

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Benefits of Grass

The Prescott area is known as a high desert with an elevation of approximately 5280ft or 1 mile.  As with most deserts there is not a whole lot of rainfall.  This is were grasslands come into play.  If you look around the valleys, such as Prescott Valley and Chino Valley you will notice the terrain is covered with grass.

Now most people think of grass as a green luscious lawn, and although this is grass it is not necessarily the only variety to provide benefits.  There can be a lot of controversy over the planting of grass in a region of high desert, however there are many benefits of grass and lawns that actually help the local environment.


  • A healthy lawn increases soil stability through its deep and expansive root structure which reduces land degradation and erosion from wind and water.  This process allows the recharge of underground water aquifers.

  • Lawns cool the air: according to a Mississippi State University study, a healthy lawn has the same cooling effect as an 8.5 ton air conditioning compressor. About ½ the heat energy directed to a grassy area is eliminated by evapotranspiration. Non‐vegetative surfaces (like rock, artificial turf, cement) do not have the same cooling effect and in some cases, can actually create a mini ‘heat‐island’ effect, increasing the ground‐level temperature.

  • Lawns act as a carbon sink, taking up CO2 from the atmosphere, thereby playing a small role in managing global climate change. The 40 million acres of lawns in the US take up between 6 and 17 teragrams of carbon each year depending on how they are managed, according to NASA.  Also, leaving grass clippings on the lawn increases carbon uptake. Tearing up grass to install artificial turf releases significant amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.

  • Lawns act as natural filters taking up dust, pollutants, and particulate matter from the air and water (up to 12 million tons per year).

  • Lawns significantly reduce noise pollution, particularly in urban areas.


Lawns and grass can also create problems such as excessive water use, so choose a grass appropriate for your region.  The best thing to do is to plant lawns with berms around them so that water runoff can be directed to the lawn.  Allowing a lawn to flood where rain is scarce allows the soil to absorb the water, therefore retaining moisture and thus requiring less watering.  A good practice would be to direct the downspouts from gutters onto the lawn.

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