Turfgrass is mown vegetation of grasses, plants in the Poaceae family, a major part of humanity’s cultural landscape. It gives people and other animals healthy outdoor surfaces to move around, cleans and recharges groundwater, develops and conserves soil, and sequesters carbon.
Kinds of turfgrasses include warm- and cool-season species generally perennial and sod-forming, such as Kentucky bluegrass, Poa pratensis, and common bermudagrass, Cynodon dactylon, and some bunchgrass species such as perennial ryegrass, Lolium perenne, are planted as seed at high rates. Cultivars or trade names, e.g., ‘Merion’ Kentucky bluegrass and ‘Tifway’ bermudagrass, have been developed as improvements in higher density, wear tolerance, and growth characteristics for use as turf. Cultivars of the same species are mixed as blends and rarely different species are planted together as mixtures.
Primary cultural practices of turfgrass are mowing, irrigation, and fertilization. Other cultural practices are pest management to control insects, mites, fungal diseases, nematodes, and weeds. Cultivation of turfgrass involves aerification such as core cultivation, verticutting or vertical mowing, slicing, and fraze mowing. Propagation and establishment of turfgrass is done by seed, sprigs, plugs, and sod depending on the species, its capability, and use requirements. Establishment of turfgrass is often a long-term commitment requiring site modification and other steps in orderly sequence starting with an objective for growing turfgrass in contrast to other vegetation groupings such as groundcovers.
Periodic management complements the larger environmental conditions determining the success and suitability, or failure, of turfgrasses in the landscape. Environmental factors include long-term modification in the construction, siting, and soil modification for turfgrass areas. Less controllable environmental factors involve regional climate and microclimate factors such as shade of trees, wind, salt spray, and traffic.
Business and economics
Turfgrass has developed from hand shearing through labor-saving tools typical of industrial societies. Types of businesses and occupations supporting turfgrass are equipment, fertilizer, and pesticide manufacturers and their distributors, management companies, golf course superintendents, sports turf managers, irrigation and mowing contractors, turfgrass producers including sod and seed growers, golf course architects, lawn care companies, water district managers, agricultural inspectors, and university scientists including extension agents. In North American and Europe, equipment and supplies for turfgrass management are accessible to single family home owners who readily maintain their own properties, as well as to small business owners who maintain properties for their clients.