University of Florida


Turfgrasses and ornamental plants are considered an integral part of landscape ecological systems (Roberts et al., 1992) . Turfgrass provides functional, recreational, and aesthetic benefits to society and the environment (Fender, 2006; King and Balogh, 2006). However, critics of grass maintain it not only wastes time, money and resources, but that efforts to grow grass results in an excessive use of water and pesticides, resulting in an environmental pollution. Although this could sound drastic for turfgrasses, its water requirements have been established by scientific study, which means that any application of water in amounts exceeding turf requirements can be attributed to human factors, not plant needs (Beard and Green, 1994).

Turf has become an important U.S. crop. The most recent estimation of the turf area in the U.S. was presented by Milesi et al. (2005), with a total turfgrass area estimated as 163,800 km2 (+/- 35,850 km2 for the upper and lower 95% confidence interval bounds), which include all residential, commercial, and institutional lawns, parks, golf courses, and athletic fields (Fender, 2006) . The annual economic value  of this turfgrass is estimated to be $40 billion.

Southwest Florida Water Management District