Turf Warrior

Nearly 50,000 square miles of the continental US is covered by lawn, according to estimates by ecologists at NASA’s Ames Research Center. Using satellite and aerial imagery, the team calculated that irrigated grass covers three times more land in the US than irrigated corn does. That makes turf the nation’s most widespread irrigated crop.
Lawn care and gardening is also the most popular outdoor leisure activity in the country, and the global industry supporting it generates an estimated $7 billion a year. ScottsMiracle-Gro accounts for more than a third of that – $2.4 billion in 2005. Numbers aside, though, that neatly trimmed front lawn is a Rockwellian feature of the American landscape. It’s safe to say that no other nation commits even a fraction of the land, resources, chemicals, and water that the US does in pursuit of the perfect greensward.
All that vegetation has some environmental benefit. According to the NASA group, lawns collectively absorb some 12 billion pounds of carbon each year – effectively cutting greenhouse gas emissions. And if that grass weren’t there, much more soil would run off into storm drains, waterways, and ?rivers, polluting reservoirs and hastening the erosion of hillsides and valuable farmland.
Wired 14.04: Turf Warrior