Interesting Facts About Turfgrass
- As of 2004, the annual value of the U.S. turfgrass industry was $35 billion.
- Total acres of turf in the U.S. is estimated to be 46.5 million acres.
- Land area collectively occupied by U.S. lawns equals a land mass greater than that of Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island combined.
- Of the estimated 7,500 grass species, 50 are cultivated for turf.
- As a seed crop in the U.S., turfgrass ranks # 2.
- Over 25 million acres of lawn are tended in the US.
- Quote from Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), “Whoever could make.... two blades of grass grow where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.”
- Nationally, homeowners spend $6.4 billion per year on lawn care.
- One single grass plant can have 387 miles of roots.
- In a thick, healthy lawn there are six turfgrass plants in each sq. in., 850 turf plants in a sq. ft. and about 7 million in an average lawn of 8,000 sq. ft.
- Up to 90 percent of the weight of a grass plant is in its roots.
- Using average loam soil as an example, scientists reported that it requires 0.6 inches of water to wet soil four inches deep; sandy soils would require less water, and clay soils would require more.
- To achieve a four-inch soil moisture depth, a homeowner would apply 375 gallons of water per 1,000 sq. ft.; at a standard 40 lbs.-per-sq.-inch water pressure in a three-quarter inch. 50-ft. hose, 528 gallons of water-per-hour would be delivered to the sprinkler head—this watering set-up would take slightly less than 45 minutes to release the equivalent of 375 gallons an hour (0.6 inch. of water to achieve the four-inch. moisture depth on totally dry soils).
- A lawn that is deprived of moisture for 45 days will typically suffer a 20 percent loss and, most likely, turn a dormant straw-color during that period, although probably isn’t dead—after several days of moderate temperature and moisture (natural or supplied), re-growth will begin with visible results about two weeks after the dormancy is broken.
- Quote by Walt Whitman (1819-1892), “I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.”
- Front lawns of eight average-size houses have the cooling effect of about 70 tons of air conditioning, while the average home-size central air unit has only a three to four-ton capacity.
- Turfgrasses trap much of an estimated 12 million tons of dust and dirt released annually into the U.S. atmosphere.
- Playing fields covered with dense turf have proven safer, as demonstrated by a simple egg drop test. When a dozen raw eggs were dropped from a height of 11 ft. onto a two-inch thick piece of dense turf, none broke; two-thirds of them broke on thin turf from that height; and from just 18-inch all broke on an “all-weather” track!
- Healthy, dense lawns absorb rainfall six times more effectively than a wheat field and four times better than a hayfield. Sodded lawns can absorb 10 to 12 times more water than seeded lawns, even after two years of growth, thus preventing run-off and erosion.
- Recovery rates among hospitalized patients are often quicker when their rooms view a landscaped area than patients with non-landscaped views. Where vegetation grows, child mortality, suicide and energy consumption are less than in places where there are no plants.
- With up to 90 percent of the weight of a grass plant in its roots, it makes a very efficient erosion prevention device, also removing soil particles from silty water.
- Turfgrasses help purify water entering underground aquifers by its root mass and soil microbes acting as a filter to capture and breakdown many types of pollutants.
- A Gallup Survey reported 62 percent of all U.S. homeowners felt investment in lawns and landscaping were as good or better than other home improvements. The investment recovery rate is 100 to 200 percent for landscape improvement, compared to a deck or patio that will recover 40 to 70 percent. Proper and well-maintained landscaping adds 15 percent to a home’s value according to buyers.
- Quote by Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), “Grass is what saves and holds the water that keeps life good and going... It keeps the falling rain from flushing away. Blades of grass take water from the air and transpired it into the ground. That works the other way around too. Because grass blades help put water back into the air so that rain can fall again.”
- Grass areas quickly affect people’s moods by creating feelings of serenity, privacy, thoughtfulness or happiness and its yearly cycles of growth and color change lift human spirits and link urban inhabitants with their countryside heritage.
- A turf area just 50-ft. square absorbs carbon dioxide, ozone, hydrogen fluoride and perosyacetyle nitrate and releases enough oxygen to meet the needs of a family of four. The grass and trees along the U.S. interstate highway system release enough oxygen to support 22 million people.
- Quote by Senator John J. Ingalls (1833-1900), “Next in importance to the divine profusion of water, light and air—may be reckoned the universal beneficence of grass. Grass is the forgiveness of nature, her constant benediction.”
- The average American uses 1,800 gallons of water daily (direct personal use = 8 percent; indirect agricultural use = 33 percent; indirect industrial use = 59 percent).
- Less than one percent of the domestically used water is utilized to irrigate landscape plants.
- 73 million gallons of water used on landscape plants is less than nine-tenths of one percent of the nation’s water used.
- 100 million gallons of water is lost on a daily basis by New York City because of an aging and broken water delivery system.
- With 250 million people playing soccer worldwide and interest in the sport growing exponentially in the United States, the quality of soccer fields is an area of particular interest. For World Cup soccer in 1994, the Pontiac Silverdome grew its turf off-site, transported it to the dome in containers and then put it back together for the elite soccer matches.
- 625 square feet of lawn provides enough oxygen for one person for an entire day.
- Turf traps an estimated 12 million tons of dust and dirt annually.
- A buffer zone of grass around buildings helps retard the spread of fire.
Source: Professional Lawn Care Association of America