It should come as no surprise that established lawns do not need fertilizing. Simply leaving the grass clippings on top after a mow is equivalent to one-pound of nitrogen fertilizer per thousand square feet of lawn in a year.
Erik the Red was able to establish a Viking settlement in Greenland by finding sufficient flat land to build up soil to support grass. This was a tenuous existence. If a man’s goat or sheep was found grazing on the lush grass, the plenty may be death. Without that bit of grass the family owning the patch might not make it through the winter. Four hundred years after the Vikings abandoned Greenland, taking with them the livestock, the distinct grass plots were found to be still green. The grass, lacking both chemical and livestock fertilizer, remained healthy due to symbiosis with the soil’s microbial ecosystem.
Remember when striving for the greater good, that we’re grassroots. We are becoming a vast field of grass reaching for the sky, pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere and pushing out liquid carbon from the tips of roots into soil. To create a ton of carbon in soil, grass plants photosynthesize 3.64 tons of CO2. The largest organisms in the world are mycorrhizal fungi that stretch in great networks (microbial bridges) beneath natural lawns (grass turf without fertilizer, pesticides or herbicide, as one application of Roundup kills a quarter of the mycorrhizal fungi). Grass is in symbiosis, part of a larger community, with fungi, bacteria, microbes, insects, worms, etc. The soil where carbon is stored is alive which in turn feeds the grass whatever it needs to flourish.
Melvina Reynold was correct when she sang “God bless that grass that grows through cement.” Grass in cracks pumps carbon into the ground. This causes the cement to rise, buckle and break apart. Never underestimate grassroots.
Let’s bust some ossified concepts with savvy conversations and actions. We’ve got carbon to capture and life cycles to save.