Does lightning make grass greener is, this query makes many lawn owners curious. The answer is a bit complicated, and one needs to understand nitrogen fixation to make sense of it.
In this article, we will see how grass becomes greener after a nearby lightning strike and whether this is sufficient fertilizer. Find out much more information about lightning and grass in this science-backed article.
Does Lightning Make Grass Greener?
Yes, grass grows greener immediately after a lightning strike on its soil. This is allowed by a large amount of nitrogen provided by lightning to the soil via the nitrogen cycle. The grass is especially greener and improved if lightning is followed by good rainfall.
First of all, rain deeply waters the soil and saturates it completely. After a good watering session, the grass blades naturally perk up and become plumper than usual.
Rain also washes dirt and other debris off the grass, so it looks much fresher and brighter. Hence, rain and not nitrogen are responsible for the more vibrant-looking grass right after a thunderstorm.
The nitrogen added to the soil takes a few days to exert its effect. It will take about three to five days minimum for the nitrogen to be taken up the roots. In the weeks following a lightning strike, you will notice that the grass seems to be growing faster and looking more vibrant than ever.
How Does Lightning Affect Grass?
Lightning affects grass by directly infuses the grass with a large amount of nitrogen. In addition, lightning would also expound, as it would convert nitrogen in the air into a form usable by plants and sends it down via rainfall.
However, as through botany and the study of grass together with chemistry, we know that enough energy is produced during a lightning strike to split molecules of atmospheric nitrogen into separate atoms of nitrogen.
These free atoms then easily combine with oxygen molecules in the air to create nitrogen dioxide.
Nitrogen dioxide is a common fertilizing agent the grass uses to grow green and spread further, and this is the key element that grass would capture to signify its chlorophyll agent.
The nitrogen dioxide molecules are transferred into the soil via lightning strikes and rain or hail during a thunderstorm.
This process is known as nitrogen fixation and is one of the major ways that nitrogen is recycled in nature. Through this method, your grass is constantly getting nitrogen from the air, but lightning provides a significantly larger quantity than regular.
– Nitrogen Produced By Lightning
Since we have established that lightning produces nitrogen using its high electric potential, although the next question goes, is it enough to make the entire lawn greener? Recent studies and research show the amount of nitrogen will be expected from lightning strikes in a year.
Their research was conducted in North America, and they found out that the city receives about 20 kg of nitrogen per hectare each year by nitrogen fixation. This is, of course, much less than what an average lawn needs to keep its grass going.
You better rely on something other than atmospheric Nitrogen to provide your lawn with Nitrogen instead of habitually fertilizing the lawn. Still, it doesn’t hurt to occasionally get your lawn fed by lightning without resorting to chemical means.
– Lightning Fertilizing Grass
Every time lightning strikes, it ends up fertilizing your lawn. Research conducted is limited in this regard, but there is evidence that more than occasional fertilization from lightning and rain is needed to sustain a lawn full of grass.
You cannot stop feeding your lawn just because your grass receives occasional thunder strikes.
When it comes to providing a healthy amount of nitrogen during each strike and thunderstorm, there is no doubt that your lawn gets fertilized. If you live someplace that receives regular thunderstorms with bouts of lightning, then your lawn is lucky.
Even if lightning falls close to where you live, this would still provide enough energy and nitrogen compounds to your lawn. Nitrogen dioxide is a dense molecule that penetrates a few inches deep into the soil. In four to five days, your grass will take up this nitrogen and utilize it for its health and vibrancy.
– Nitrogen Importance
Nitrogen is among the top three nutrients without which plants and grass cannot grow. The other two elements are phosphorus and potassium, which are needed in fewer amounts than nitrogen. The latter must be present in the soil before seed germination to produce healthy grass.
Nitrogen is used by grass in early spring to recover from winter dormancy stresses and produce new shoots. This element, to be specific, stimulates the growth of new grass blades responsible for developing new grassroots. Spring feeding is essential to a turf owner’s lawn care regimen.
Grass needs nitrogen to make chlorophyll molecules and food for itself. Chlorophyll gives plants their green color, so a healthy abundance of nitrogen means the grass will be greener. It will also be using some sunlight better to sustain its growth and development.
On the other hand, this is an important aspect as plants need nitrogen for the development of their genetic materials and to grow throughout the years in a healthier manner, of course this is because nitrogen is a component of both DNA and proteins.
Seeds will germinate better and quicker in soil with adequate amount of this element coming from the lightning.
Do Plants Grow Better Because of Lightning?
No, we cannot say that nitrogen helps plants grow better with surety. First, more research must be conducted to reach an educated conclusion. Secondly, plants need a steady and constant supply of nitrogen to grow, produce fruits and germinate them.
Hence, you must note that lightning does provide the soil with a significant amount of nitrogen in the form of nitrogen dioxide.
This nitrogen is a reliable fertilizer readily usable by grass and plant roots. However, lightning is never reliable and frequent enough to become a constant source of nitrogen for plants.
– Direct Bolts Will Burn Grass
We must clarify what we mean by lightning making a grass greener. Lightning must not fall directly on your lawn to add nitrogen, the particles that have fallen elsewhere would provide your soil. If it falls directly, then this would be quite dangerous and potentially life-threatening.
Lightning anywhere in the vicinity of your lawn will add a sizeable portion of nitrogen to the soil.
When it rains, a lot more molecules of nitrogen dioxide will fall with it and seep into the soil.
However, you must be very cautious because the bolt of light falling directly on the soil will burn it. In many cases, proper fires have erupted in lawns after such strikes, as the electricity sparks are charged.
– Additional Ways to Fertilize
As each flash of lightning produces a quantity of nitrogen in its dissolvable form, nitrogen dioxide of course, on your lawn.
Most studies estimating this quantity have been conducted on thunderstorms occurring in sub-tropical regions at mid-latitude levels. However, you must note that this amount of nitrogen is significant, but again, it doesn’t satisfy or fully fertilize a lawn.
It is wise to rely on something other than atmospheric nitrogen while maintaining a healthy lawn. Hence, you may establish a timely fertilizing schedule to keep your grass well-fed would be best.
Most grasses undergo their growth period during the spring to summer months, which is when there won’t be much rain and lightning, and this means you must fertilize it so that your lawn would be lush.
Cool-season grasses also grow during the late summer and fall periods. You need to fertilize your grass every fourth to six weeks during these months. Four weeks before seeding your lawn, you should use a seed starter fertilizer rich in nitrogen, even if lightning has struck. After the grass is well established, you can use a proper liquid fertilizer.
You may even add some additional commercial fertilizers come with an NPK ratio that indicates how much nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are present in them. Check the NPK ratio and the instructions given on the label before use, because these might burn your lawn if, of course, you add excess of it.
If you don’t want to expose your grass to chemicals, then nitrogen-rich natural fertilizers are also good options.
Another way would be adding animal manure, and this is because it is a very rich source of nitrogen, particularly rabbit waste.
Mulch is used to lock moisture in the soil, insulating it and suffocating weeds formation. Lastly, using a nitrogen-rich mulch has the advantage of eventually breaking up over time and adding nitrogen to the soil.
This article will help you learn how lightning affects your lawn grass’s well-being.
Before concluding this guide, we want to reiterate some important and concluding points that we just covered here:
- Grass often appears greener after lightning and rainfall because it gets washed and hydrated.
- Enough energy is produced during lightning to convert nitrogen in the air into nitrogen dioxide, an effective fertilizer.
- The nitrogen that falls on the soil after a thunderstorm begins to help the grass grow after a period of about three to five days.
- If lightning falls directly on the grass, it will burn it instead of fertilizing it because it is electrically charged.
Even though it provides some nitrogen to the grass, you must fertilize your lawn to keep it green and growing.
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