On Saturday, April 23, at Earth Day festivities at The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company Community Garden Campus on the grounds of the Franklin Park Conservatory inColumbus,Ohio, ScottsMiracle-Gro will announce its support of a major centralOhiocommunity gardens grant program. Mayor Michael B. Coleman, Council Member Priscilla Tyson and the Franklin County Commissioners, through The Columbus Foundation, established the grant program to support existing community gardens and encourage the creation of new ones.
“We are excited to partner with our local governments in their efforts to encourage more community gardens. Nationwide, there are more than one million community gardens, and the participation in this activity grows every year. We are pleased to provide ScottsMiracle-Gro products to these centralOhiogrant recipients to help them be successful with their gardening projects,” said Jim King, senior vice president, Corporate Affairs, for ScottsMiracle-Gro. The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company Community Garden Campus is a seven-acre living classroom for horticulture, environmental education and community gardening best practices.
In addition, this year, ScottsMiracle-Gro supported community gardening by awarding financial grants to 100 organizations across theU.S.and plans to install five showcase gardens inTampa,Houston,Los Angeles,ChicagoandNew York. These activities are part of the Company’s GRO1000 initiative to create or support 1,000 gardens in the next several years.
Lawns and a Healthy Environment
“Lawns and gardens provide a myriad of environmental benefits that, too often, are taken for granted,” says Rich Shank, PhD., chief environmental officer for ScottsMiracle-Gro. “Earth Day is a perfect time to remind us of the importance of our yards, community gardens, parklands and open green spaces to our ecosystem.
“This is also a good time to review best practices for homeowners in caring for their lawns,” he added. These best practices include:
- Mow grass high. Taller grass is stronger grass, with deeper roots that can crowd out weeds and also find available water.
- Mulch the grass clippings and sweep stray clippings off the pavement and back onto lawns. Returning grass clippings to the lawn recycles nutrients and adds organic matter to the soil.
- Feed lawns to keep them healthy, which helps control soil erosion and reduce runoff.
The environmental benefits of lawns are numerous, beginning with the way grass grows a root system that knits together the soil. This dense ground cover keeps soil from eroding and controls storm water runoff.
A healthy lawn captures rainfall, preventing the water from moving off site. This reduces the amount of water entering storm drains and sewers and also helps to replenish groundwater supplies. An average 10,000-sq. ft. lawn can absorb and filter more than 6,000 gallons of water from a rain event, which is equivalent to 1½ inches of rainfall an hour.
Grass is also an impressive air filter, trapping dirt and dust, and converting carbon dioxide into oxygen. “The lawn outside one’s home provides enough oxygen for an average family, day after day,” Shank pointed out.
Another benefit of lawns is their significant cooling effect to the environment – one average size lawn has the cooling effect of two average-size air conditioners. Summer air temperatures above a lawn can be up to 30 degrees cooler than above a paved surface.
ScottsMiracle-Gro recently committed to a multi-year education program to help teach consumers about water quality and conservation practices as they care for their lawns and gardens. This education will be delivered through the Company’s advertising, Web sites and environmental partners, which include theAlliancefor theGreat Lakesand Keep America Beautiful.
“We strongly believe that, by working together with consumers, communities and other stakeholders, ScottsMiracle-Gro will continue to make positive contributions to the environment through its lawn and gardening products, community gardening outreach and consumer education,” Shank said.