Turfgrass has been a mainstay of the U.S. urban environment since the mid-20th century, during which large tracts of land were developed to accommodate growing urban populations. Today, turfgrass comprises more than 60,000 square miles of the contiguous United States. Mississippi has over 2.5 million acres of maintained turf. The largest single component is over 2 million acres of roadside right-of-way. The second largest component, and the one requiring a majority of inputs, is that of home lawns. Almost 300,000 acres of turfgrass surround Mississippi’s 750,000 homes and residences. There are over 150 golf courses, over 2,000 athletic fields, and numerous acres of turf surrounding schools, places of worship, and commercial sites.
Benefits of turf are well documented and include: recreational health, erosion control, increased water infiltration, reduced nutrient leaching, aesthetics, carbon sequestration, and mediation of the ‘heat-island’ effect. Yet the ecological impact of turf is often questioned, due in part to nutrient and water requirements as well as its often-unsustainable monoculture cultivation. It is important that homeowners and turfgrass managers follow best management practices that minimize their environmental impact. Proper turf species and variety selection is key.
Maintenance. Many gardeners enjoy maintaining a quality turf. Others despise lawn work and demand a low-maintenance turfgrass. Still others are confused about how to keep a lawn green. You don’t have to be an expert to have a quality lawn; neither do you have to spend all your leisure time working on it. By learning a few basic facts about turfgrass, you can have the best lawn on the block. Also, you can choose a turfgrass to suit the time and money you have for maintenance.