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Ohio Celebrates the Benefits of Turfgrass

Sunday, May 25, 2014   (0 Comments)
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It’s where fathers and sons play catch. It’s where mothers and daughters have their picnic tea party on a spring afternoon. It’s the canvas on which memories are created. It’s turfgrass.

As families begin to prepare for a summer of fun, thousands of individuals throughout the state are working tirelessly to provide us with beautiful and safe green spaces to enjoy. In fact, more than 40,000 Ohioans make their living in the turfgrass industry.

These professionals maintain our lawns, parks, sports fields, golf courses, places of business and more! They are highly trained and highly educated. Many have two-year or four-year degrees in turfgrass science or a related field and some hold masters and doctorate degrees. In order to stay current with the latest tools and practices they attend continuing education classes on a regular basis.

Each year, during the last week of May, Ohio celebrates Turfgrass Week. During this week, we officially recognize these individuals and their dedication to their craft and also celebrate the benefits of turf. In addition to providing a base for our favorite activities, healthy turfgrass also plays an integral role in protecting our environment.

A recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study investigating water quality issues in the Chesapeake Bay concluded that healthy turfgrass helps reduce pollution and runoff. Grass leaves and stems cover the soil and slow runoff to the point where it has a chance to soak into the soil. In addition, healthy turfgrass plants have deep roots which bind the soil in place, reducing soil erosion and movement of nutrients.

Other benefits of turf include cooling the environment, producing oxygen, cleaning the air, reducing glare and noise and also reducing allergens. Properly maintained turfgrass can help control dust, pollen and other sources of irritating allergies by minimizing the amount of weeds in an open space. 

While many are just beginning to understand and use words such as "green” and "sustainable,” industry professionals have been living these ideals for decades. Turfgrass managers strive to provide healthy turfgrass with reduced inputs and minimal environmental impact.  For example, the products used to enhance growth and reduce pests are all subject to years of extensive research and analysis prior to becoming available for use. Before these tools are approved to be used on your lawn, on the golf course or at the park, they must be proven to be safe for us, our kids and pets as well as to the environment.

The turfgrass industry in Ohio is alive and well! Maintaining the more than 4 million acres of turfgrass in Ohio accounts for a total annual economic impact of $4.6 billion, including $937 million in payroll, payroll taxes and contracted services.  In addition to aesthetics, turfgrass enhances property value by 7.5% and improves community pride.  

For every school, soccer field, golf course and green space that we spend time with our family and friends on, there’s a staff of trained professionals ensuring that these spaces are well maintained and safe. Thank you to the Ohio General Assembly for recognizing the environmental and economic benefits of turfgrass through the celebration of Turfgrass Week.  

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