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History of Turfgrasses. Biblical references: grasses used in Persian and Arabian gardens 13th century literature referred to the use of turn on lawn “bowling” areas The word “turf” is derived from the Sanskrit “darbhus”, meaning a turf of grass 16-17th century, golf and turf areas developed.

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history of turfgrasses
History of Turfgrasses
  • Biblical references: grasses used in Persian and Arabian gardens
  • 13th century literature referred to the use of turn on lawn “bowling” areas
  • The word “turf” is derived from the Sanskrit “darbhus”, meaning a turf of grass
  • 16-17th century, golf and turf areas developed
history continued
History continued
  • First lawn mower invented by Edwin Budding , England, 1830
  • Private lawns developed in Victorian England, brought to US by English settlers. Had to wait until the hardwood forests were cleared to permit grass establishment. Williamsburg classic example of small turf areas at each house. This was the change.
origin of turfgrasses
Origin of Turfgrasses
  • Most species used for turf are not native to North America, with the exception of buffalograss. All the primary species have been introduced
  • Most turf species are “forest-fringe” species, which distinguishes them from taller prairie species
origin of turfgrasses4
Origin of Turfgrasses
  • Turfgrasses developed in close association with domesticated animals. Man thus unwittingly imposed natural selection on many of the grasses we now use for turf
  • Only grasses able to withstand repeated grazing (close cutting) were able to survive
  • Many grasses introduced to US as feed for livestock from the ships, or seed that “hitched a ride”
recent history tremendous changes in last 40 years linked to rising interest in golf tv
Recent HistoryTremendous changes in last 40 yearsLinked to rising interest in golf, TV
  • Many new, improved cultivars (cultivated varieties - a named variety)
  • Pesticide development - 2,4-D one of first
  • Refined fertilizer programs, inorganic fertilizers
  • New equipment such as aerifier, vertical mower, modern irrigation systems
size of the turf grass industry
Size of the Turf Grass Industry
  • UNITED STATES (1983)
    • 25 To 30 million acres (size of new england)
    • $25 Billion in annual maintenance COSTS
    • New York (1982), California (1983), Virginia, North Carolina (1986) Pennsylvania (1992)
north carolina survey 1994
North Carolina Survey (1994)
  • Over 2 Million Acres
  • $1 Billion in Annual Maintenance Costs
  • Over 2 Million Homelawns
  • 76,000 Miles of Roadsides
  • 500 Golf Courses (12 Million Rounds of Golf)
what species are grown in nc
What Species are Grown in NC?
  • Tall fescue 52% of total
  • Bluegrass/fescue 8%
  • Bermudagrass 7%
  • Centipedegrass 4%
  • others: zoysiagrass, ryegrass, bahiagrass, carpetgrass, St. Augustinegrass
where s the money how golf courses allocate
Where’s the Money?How Golf Courses Allocate $
  • Labor, Mowing 28.3% of total
  • Mowing Equipment etc. 15.1%
  • Labor, Pesticides 8.4%
  • Fertilizer 7.9%
  • Labor, Irrigation 3.6%
segments of the turf grass industry


Golf Course

Lawn Care


Athletic Fields

Sod Production


Commercial Grounds




Turf Sales


Segments of the Turf Grass Industry
selected turf and turf related occupations
Cemeteries Management


Education/ Extension

Equipment Manufacturers / Sales

Fertilizer Manufacturers / Sales

Garden Stores/Nurseries

Golf Course Operations

More ...

Selected Turf and Turf-related Occupations
selected turf and turf related occupations12
Irrigation Installation and Design

Journalism, Newsletters, Etc.

Landscaping / Construction

Lawn Care

Lawn Service Firms

Lime Production/Sales

Parks Management

Pesticide Manufactures/Sales


Seed Firms/Sales

Sod Production

Turf Management, Parks, Etc.

Selected Turf and Turf-related Occupations
  • Turf
    • A covering of mowed vegetation plus the medium (soil) in which the grasses are growing
  • Turfgrass
    • the plant community consisting of certain species in the Poaceae forming a continuous ground cover with persists under regular mowing and traffic
  • Grass
    • Any Plant of the Poacea Family (Cereals, Forages, Bamboo)
    • Parallel Venation
    • Monocot­Having One Cotyledon (Seedling Leaf) in the Seed
  • Turfgrass culture
    • Science and practice of establishing and maintaining turfgrass
  • Turfgrass management
    • Encompasses labor supervision, recordkeeping, budgeting, and cost accounting as well as culture
  • Sod
    • Harvested turf
  • Green
    • A closely mowed, highly manicured turfgrass maintained for a specific purpose
    • Types: golf, bowling, tennis
  • Native Grass
    • Originate and persist in a region
  • Naturalized Grass
    • Adapt and persist but not originate from the region
classification of merion kentucky bluegrass
  • Kingdom Plantae
  • Division Embryophyta
  • Subdivision Phanaerogama
  • Branch Angiospermae
  • Class Monocotyledoneae
  • Subclass Glumiforae
  • Order Poales
  • Family Poaceae
  • Subfamily Pooideae
  • Tribe Poeae
  • Genus Poa
  • Species pratensis
  • Cultivar Merion
the importance of turf
The Importance of Turf

In 1971 life magazine conducted a survey and found that 95% of respondents said "green grass and trees around me" is the most important environmental factor

In 1980 Better Homes and Gardens chose lawns as most important landscaping element (61%)

reasons for turf
Reasons for Turf
  • Aesthetics
    • Ornamental Grasses
    • Mental Relaxation
  • Recreation
    • Exercise
    • Sporting Events
reasons for turf20
Reasons for Turf
  • Safety
    • Reduce Glare
    • Roadside Stopping
    • Reduce Fire
    • Reduce Rodents, Snakes
    • Reduce Injuries
reasons for turf21
Reasons for Turf
  • Environmental Quality
    • Moderate Temperatures
      • 15 Degrees Cooler Than Bare Ground
      • 30 Degrees Cooler Than Concrete
reasons for turf22
Reasons for Turf
  • Environmental Quality (continued)
    • Reduce Erosion
    • Reduce dust, lengthen life of equipment
    • Reduce noise 30-40%
    • Convert unusable land - land fills for example
reasons for turf23
Reasons for Turf
  • Environmental Quality (continued)
    • Recycle effluent
    • Release oxygen
    • Absorb toxic emissions
    • Reduce allergies (but can also cause allergies)
reasons for turf24
Reasons for Turf
  • Economics
    • Realtors say landscaping adds 6% to value
    • Homeowners say landscaping adds 15% to selling price
    • Sell faster
    • Recovery value 100-200% but only 40-70% for patio and deck
sporting events that utilize turf as a playing surface










Lawn Bowling

Lawn Darts



Skiing, lawn

Skiing, snow



Steeple Chase


Track & Field


Sporting Events that Utilize Turf as a Playing Surface
turf quality
Turf Quality
  • Turf quality is a function of use, appearance and playability
  • There are two categories:
    • Visual
    • Functional
visual quality
Visual Quality
  • Density - number of shoots per area
  • Texture - leaf width
  • Uniformity - even appearance
  • Color
  • Growth habit - type of shoot growth
  • Smoothness - surface feature that affects quality and playability






functional quality
Functional Quality
  • Rigidity
        • Resistence of leaves to compression
  • Elasticity
        • Tendency of leaves to spring back
  • Resiliency
        • Capacity to absorb shock without changing surface
  • Yield
        • Clippings removed with mowing




Ball Roll



functional quality continued
Functional Quality (continued)
  • Verdure
        • Aerial shoots remaining after mowing
  • Rooting
        • Amount, depth of root growth
  • Recuperative capacity
        • Recovery potential
ten good reasons to grow a lawn

Home Lawns Help the Environment

  • The next time you're mowing on a hot day, thinking that green concrete may really be the answer, consider all of the ways your lawn returns your favor of good care:
10 good reasons to grow a lawn
10 Good Reasons to grow a lawn
  • 1. The front lawns of a block of eight average houses have the cooling effect of about 70 tons of air conditioning. The average home central air conditioning unit has about 3-4 ton capacity. Consider how much energy is saved by those lawns!
10 good reasons to grow a lawn36
10 Good Reasons to grow a lawn
  • 2. On a hot summer day, grass can be 10 to 14 degrees cooler than exposed soil and as much as 30 degrees cooler than concrete or asphalt.
  • 3. A 50 by 100 foot well-maintained grass area will create enough oxygen to meet the needs of a family of four every day.
10 good reasons to grow a lawn37
10 Good Reasons to grow a lawn
  • 4. Acting like a gigantic sponge, lawns absorb all types of airborne pollutants such as soot, dust and carbon monoxide, as well as noise.
  • 5. Recent studies show healthy lawns absorb rainfall six times more effectively than a wheat field and four times better than a hay field, being exceeded only by virgin forest. Lawns filter the moisture to the water table where it can again be used by everyone.
10 good reasons to grow a lawn38
10 Good Reasons to grow a lawn
  • 6. A Penn State University study showed "thick lawns slow the velocity of runoff and allow the water to infiltrate." A healthy, high quality lawn was at least 10 times more effective than a patchy lawn with a lot of weeds.
10 good reasons to grow a lawn39
10 Good Reasons to grow a lawn
  • 7. While a quality turfgrass reduces runoff water, it also prevents erosion by water or wind and the loss of valuable topsoil.
  • 8. Homes, sports fields and parks with healthy lawns provide safer recreational areas when grass acts as a cushion to reduce shock and potential injury.
10 good reasons to grow a lawn40
10 Good Reasons to grow a lawn
  • 9. Aesthetically, there can be no argument that a beautiful lawn is immediately pleasing to the eye and relaxing in its appearance.
  • l0. While some may scorn the work, others find lawn maintenance requirements an excellent opportunity to enjoy reasonable exercise and as a diversion from the hustle and bustle of life.
  • What is the difference between the following terms:
    • A. Turfgrass culture vs turf management?
    • B. Native vs naturalized grass?
    • C. Turf vs turfgrass?
    • D. Density vs texture?
    • E. Resiliency vs rigidity?