The Reason Why Fresh-Cut Grass Smells so Nice Is Actually Kind of Dark

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Those of us who grew up in suburbia probably have a lot of positive associations with the smell of fresh-cut grass. It’s summer, we’re playing outside, our dads are home on the weekends – maybe all of the above. Even now, catching a whiff may cause us to stop, take a deep breath, and smile.

But what if I told you the smell is the result of thousands of blades of grass in distress, working fervently to heal themselves without rot setting in before it’s too late.

Yeah. Makes you think about that whole vegan thing, doesn’t it?

It turns out that when leafy green plants are harmed, they release organic compounds known as green leaf volatiles that help form new cells that heal wounds faster, prevent bacterial infection and fungal growth (sort of like plant antibiotics), and produce compounds that prevent further damage.

They also can serve as distress signals, which some believe leads to questions about a form of language meant to warn others about potential harm.

While some of these emissions help oxygenate the atmosphere, others could pollute the air by contributing to photochemical smog in urban areas – really, the jury is out on that.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll take this as one more reason to stop mowing the lawn and just let my “bee garden” take over naturally.

My neighbors can object until they’re blue in the face; I have SCIENCE on my side.