Grass is pretty durable stuff. Animals can munch on it, lawn mowers can decimate it, the summer can starve it of moisture, the winter can cover it in frost...whatever the world throws at it, that grass just keeps on growing.
So you might wonder why people bother to put up those signs that say 'KEEP OFF THE GRASS'. Surely if grass can withstand the stress of weekly mowing sessions and suchlike, it's not going to be troubled by a few meagre footsteps, is it?
Well, no - if you've ever ignored a 'KEEP OFF THE GRASS' sign, you probably weren't snuffing out countless plant lives with every step you took.
But to say that walking on grass causes no problems whatsoever would be incorrect.
No, walking on grass doesn't kill it...
Grass is flexible enough to endure quite a bit of punishment, and remember, the blades of grass are only part of a greater whole.
Think of those thin green blades as leaves: yes, they serve an important purpose, but the grass plant can survive and continue to grow even if its blades are damaged (whether by a lawn mower, a grazing animal, or your favourite pair of shoes).
The important part of grass - the part that's responsible for new growth - is safely located at the base of the plant. That's why the grass in your garden has no problem growing back after it's been cut.
...but footfall can still cause problems!
Here are some of the issues that can arise from walking on grass:
- Over time, foot traffic can cause soil to become compacted (packed together more tightly). This is a problem, because compaction reduces drainage, and poor drainage can lead to flooding.
- Heavily-compacted soil also makes it harder for moisture and nutrients to reach the roots of your grass. Soil aeration can help with this.
- Grass becomes more fragile when frozen - avoid walking on a frosty lawn, as this will damage the grass more than it would in milder temperatures.
- As we discussed in our previous blog post (How to Stop Your Grass Drying Out), grass that's low on moisture may lose its springiness and stay flat when trodden down.
- If you walk on a lawn that has just been overseeded, this disruption may end up creating bare patches.
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