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Native Plants

Native plants may be able to survive on less water than grass, but they produce fewer environmental benefits. All plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen through photosynthesis. The rate at which this conversion takes place is a function of leaf surface area and growth rate. Lawn grasses have far higher leaf densities and growth rates than native California plants. Hence, lawns such as genuine Marathon Sod absorb more greenhouse gas and cool the surroundings better than native plants.

Lawns also provide fire protection and erosion control better than native plants do. Native plants also provide little or no aesthetic improvement or habitat enhancement for people, while grass provides numerous advantages.

Grass also provides an attractive recreational surface. If grass lawns removed, will children and pets be forced to play on a patch of native shrubs and bark?

Native Plants
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Artificial Turf

As a recreational surface, artificial turf has some serious flaws. It is certainly not “barefoot friendly.” On a hot summer day, its surface temperature will actually be hotter than asphalt making it a very inhospitable place for sports, recreation or relaxing. In fact, in warm climates artificial sports fields are cooled with dousing of water prior to games. Also, studies show that more injuries, particularly abrasions, are sustained on artificial turf fields.

Compared To the Alternatives

It is ridiculous to suggest that artificial turf is more environmentally friendly than real grass. Plastic turf is a petroleum product, so consider the carbon footprint and pollution generated to manufacture it! No artificial lawn will last forever, so the cost and the pollution created to replace it and dispose of the old material must also be recognized. Artificial lawns may not use water, but they certainly must be washed off periodically to clean away dust and dirt and to be sanitized of pet waste. The runoff of the dirty and unsanitary water from cleaning an artificial lawn winds up entering the sewer systems, or draining directly to the ocean. Except for not requiring water to stay alive, artificial turf produces absolutely no environmental benefits.

Artificial turf provides no urban habitat enhancement or support for birds and small mammals, in fact it destroys it.

Benefit Value Comparison
Marathon SOD Native Plants Artificial Grass
Greenhouse Gas Reduction High Low None
Air Purification High Low None
Water Purification High Low None
Cooling High Low None
Fire Protection High Low None
Habitat High High None
Recreational Surface High None Moderate
Surface Temperature Low Moderate High
Cost Low Moderate High
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Marathon Sod is the perfect option for families that want to keep the cool feel of grass and also keep the environmental benefits in mind. What will happen if California keeps ripping out more turf? How will we keep our air clean, our soil from eroding and keep our landscape beautiful?

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