Properly managed, they offer big benefits to people and the environment.
Well-managed lawns are an environmental asset. They can help protect -- or even improve -- water quality.
Poorly managed lawns -- whether by neglect or through the overuse of fertilizers and pesticides -- can be an environmental liability.
What you and your neighbors do with your lawns matters. Collectively, you control about 900,000 acres of lawn -- 75 percent of the managed turf in the state of New York.
It's up to you whether or not that land is used to enhance our environment. It means being aware that small acts -- such as not washing grass clippings into the street or down sewer drains -- can have a big impact on our streams and lakes.
Healthy lawns provide many benefits:
Lower air conditioning bills. Moisture evaporating from grass leaves helps keep air temperatures cooler.
Less pollution. Lawns can help filter pollutants out of the air and reduce noise pollution, especially when used along with physical barriers.
Higher property values. Attractive lawns contribute to the overall appearance of a community's landscape.
A place to play. Grasses are the only plants that can stand up to repeated recreational use.
Better water quality. The thick sod formed by grasses helps water soak into the ground. This helps reduce or eliminate runoff that can carry soil or other contaminants into waterways.
You can reap most of these benefits without spending very much money or taking more time than you are probably already spending on maintaining your lawn.