Turfgrass Information

Overview

Turfgrass not only provides families an area for recreation, but also enhances a landscape. According to The Lawn Institute website, a Gallup Survey reported that 62 percent of American homeowners considered lawn upgrades a good home-improvement investment. A dense healthy lawn can absorb rainfall six times better than a wheat field and four times more effectively than a hayfield. With the exception of buffalograss, most turfgrass species don't come from North America, but from other regions of the world.

Identification

Turfgrass, which comes from the Sanskirt word "darbhus," meaning grass or turf, is a term that refers to both residential grass and lawns used for recreational or sporting events such as parks and golf courses. The term turfgrass suggests a higher quality of grass than simply a field or pasture. Different types of turfgrass vary not only in heat and cold tolerance, but also in color, wear and other factors. Although identifying turfgrass involves noting several characteristics, there's no one feature or characteristic that's sufficient to determine a particular species.

Types

Turfgrasses are divided into two categories: warm-season and cool-season species. According to the United States National Arboretum website, warm-season turfgrass thrives in temperatures that range between 80 degrees and 95 degrees. Cool-season turf is suited for temperatures ranging from 65 to 75 degrees. Popular warm-season turfgrasses include St. Augustine and Bahia, while leading cool-season grasses are Kentucky Bluegrass and Red Fescue.

Benefits

Turfgrass has both health benefits and social advantages. Planting turfgrass in urban areas helps reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions and lowers energy consumption. Socially, it's beneficial as it offers a safe environment for children to play. This type of grass cools the air and releases oxygen, in addition to purifying and replenishing a water supply.

Warning

Large numbers of birds that congregate on turf might be a sign of fall armywoms, as these pests serve as food for birds. Another sign of fall armyworms exists in turfgrass that becomes discolored. Damage from fall armyworms typically starts along one edge of a turf area. A soapy water flush is often used for forcing fall armyworms to the surface and is helpful in detecting any caterpillars before severe damage is done to turf.

History

Biblical references were made to Persian and Arabian gardens as far back as Old Testament times. In 13th century literature, lawns were referred to as "bowling areas." Golf and turf areas started developing during the 16th through 17th centuries. In 1830, an Englishman, Edwin Budding, invented the first lawn mower with private lawns developing in Victorian England. Later early English settlers brought the idea of lawns to the New World, although they had to wait to clear out hardwood forests before grass could be established. An example of turfgrass at individual houses could be seen in Williamsburg. Many changes took place during the 20th century with more interest in golf or other recreational events as various cultivators and pesticides were developed.

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About this Author

Venice Kichura has written on a variety of topics for various websites, such as Suite 101 and Associated Content since 2005. She's written articles published in print publications and stories for books such as "God Allows U-Turns." She's a graduate of the University of Texas and has worked in both Florida and Connecticut schools.