Most of us take grass for granted and don’t give it much thought in our day-to-day life. When we look out of the window or leave the house, it’s likely we’ll see a beautiful lawn, or grass verges at the roadside, but we don’t attach any great importance to them.
Yet there are some interesting and little-known facts that make you realise there’s more to it than meets the eye. Read on to discover 10 facts that you might not know about grass!
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- Environmental benefits
Grass cleans the air and conserves water, so it has important environmental benefits. When the roots grow beneath the ground, they anchor the loose soil and trap water. The chemical process of photosynthesis that takes place inside the grass also benefits the air by creating oxygen.
- Multiple species
You might think that grass is just … well, grass! In fact, there are more than 10,000 different species, of all shapes and sizes, including turf, sugarcane, wheat, rice and bamboo, to name but a few.
- Giant ecosystem
Much of the earth is covered in grasslands – it’s estimated that 20% to 40% of the earth’s surface is grass, representing one of the largest ecosystems on the planet.
- Base growth
Unlike most plants, grass grows at the base, rather than the tips. This protects it from being burned or otherwise damaged. It will re-grow quickly, should the tips be scorched by the sun, for example, as the growth comes from below the earth.
- Expensive lawn
Everyone understands the importance of grass to many sports, such as tennis, golf and cricket, but did you know that the Centre Court at Wimbledon is known as the “most expensive lawn in the world”? It is composed of hardy perennial rye grass. Wimbledon’s combined grass courts need nine tonnes of seed each year to keep them in perfect playing condition.
- Grass foods
It’s not only animals who eat grass. In fact, it’s an ingredient of the foods and drinks that people consume as well, such as whiskey, beer and bread. Don’t worry, it’s not the same grass that grows on your lawn! Barley grass and wheat grass are used to make food and drink.
- Keeping cool
Did you know a healthy lawn can help keep your house cool in the summer? Grass blades absorb the sun’s rays, preventing them from being absorbed into the ground. Good grass cover can keep the ground cooler, at a constant temperature of between 30°F and 40°F. When the ground around your house is cool, so is your home.
- Construction materials
As well as being used for food and drink, grass is used for construction materials too, including thatched roofs all over the world. The fibre from various grasses is used for paper production as well.
- Oldest organism
Scientists have discovered a species of sea grass growing in the Mediterranean Sea that they estimate is 200,000 years old. This means it’s one of the oldest living organisms on the planet.
- Highly adaptable
Grass is one of the most versatile plants on the planet. It has adapted to live in different conditions all over the earth, including dry deserts, lush rain forests, cold mountainous regions and intertidal habitats, where it lives between high and low tide lines.
Taking all these facts into account, you can see how important grass is to people and animals all over the world, so it’s worth taking good care of your lawn!
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