Lawn’s carbon footprint

Amy Townsend-Small, UC Irvine, co-author of a new study comparing the carbon storage-versus-emission profile of Southern Californian lawns. Photo: Steve Zylius, UC Irvine

Smoking kills and lawn grooming contributes to global warming, reports the American Geophysical Union.

Actually, the AGU press release doesn’t talk about cigarettes, just grass: “Dispelling the notion that urban ‘green’ spaces [read lawn] help counteract greenhouse gas emissions, new research has found — in Southern California at least — that mowing and other lawn maintenance emit much larger amounts of greenhouse gases than the well-tended grass sequesters.

“Turfgrass lawns remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and store it as organic carbon in soil, making them important “carbon sinks.” However, greenhouse 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 new study to be

Color me stupid

Infrared aerial photographs help the Southern Nevada Water Authority identify lawn during a water crisis in the Mojave Desert city. Computer treatment of the photographs pinpoints the most wasteful use of water on grass -- on front lawns -- shown here in yellow. Back lawns are shown in green, trees in red and the pools in blue. Photo: Southern Nevada Water Authority via the Las Vegas Sun

TODAY’S Las Vegas Sun has an interesting story on the forced retirement of the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s aerial landscape conservation program.

The gist of it is that Las Vegas wants to save water by aerial identification of water wasters, but the Southern Nevada Water Authority can’t afford to keep the program going.

The SNWA skint? Since when? A Friday story in the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the Authority had just spent $4m

Too silly to water?

THANKS to Thirsty in Suburbia for posting this ad from Denver Water. Click on the blades to see what grass would say if grass could speak.

Rethink your green

GRAPHICS tell the story. The team from CalArts that produced this garden map of Greater Los Angeles are finalists in the Inaugural Aspen Design Challenge to Design Water’s Future. To the left, there is Greater Los Angeles as it is now, with the graphic showing 60% of its vegetation given over to water-intensive lawn. To the right are the zones for the region’s drought-tolerant native vegetation. Posting compliments of Craig Matsuda at SoCal Minds. For Emily Green in the op-ed pages of the Los Angeles Times on the beauty of brown, red, gold … anything but green, click here.

Goodbye to all that

Photo: Kirk McKoy, LA Times

GOT grass but don’t want it? Or the mowers? Or the blowers? Click here for a Los Angeles Times piece on how to get rid of it.

LAT Home editor Craig Nakano links to it this week after spotting a Wall Street Journal “love note to Scotts Miracle-Gro.

Finally, with apologies for the self-promotion, there is also a link to the Dry Garden column, which will pick up next week with a visit to Tree of Life Nursery in San Juan Capistrano. Links will come up when the Times publishes it.

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    Emily Green by e-mail at emily.green [at] mac.com
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