Popularity in the United States
In a recent NASA-sponsored study,
researcher Christina Milesi estimated the area covered by lawns in
the United States to be about nearly 32 million acres making it that
nation's largest irrigated crop by area. Lawn care is thus a major
business in the United States.
Maintenance, construction and
management of lawns of various kinds are the focus of much of the
modern horticulture industry. Estimates of the amount spent on
professional lawn care services vary, but a Harris Survey put the
total at $28.9 billion in 2002, approximately $1,200 per household
using such services.
Virginia Scott Jenkins, in her book
The Lawn: A History of an American Obsession (1994), traces
the desire to kill weeds historically. She notes that the current
rage for a chemically-dependent lawn emerged after World War II, and
argues that "American front lawns are a symbol of man's control
of, or superiority over, his environment."
Approximately 50-70 percent of
American residential water is used for landscaping, most of it to
Along with trees, lawns are a vital
element in the fight against urban heat islanding. Lawns provide:
- Oxygen conversion,
- Filtering of air particulates,
- Erosion control,
- Air and surface cooling to
offset asphalt, cement, and rooftops.
- A place for children to run
around and play games.
- A place for people to lay down
and look at the clouds
In comparison to bare dirt, a lawn
may be 20 degrees cooler on a hot day, and up to 40 degrees cooler
than cement surfaces.