When I lived in central OH, "lawn care" was a common priority, near Scott's HQ, golf courses everywhere. Where I am now, it's extremely unusual to see any lawn being watered, and there are no lawn care services. In neither place is watering necessary to keep grass alive, I've never watered or fertilized in 30 yrs of being responsible for the lawn, wherever it was that I was living. It's hard to imagine that even half (by surface area) of all mowed areas are coddled in any way.
Her findings about the environmental impact of *watered and fertilized* lawns are not at all new. A book I have from the early 90's is all about that. Why anyone would try to grow a lawn where rain water isn't enough is an amazing mystery, IMVHO. They're without anything to do on weekends? "Gosh, I wish there was more yard work that required gas-powered machines to tend..." ??
The assumption that bagging grass is most common or even very common is absurd. That's only common in very limited areas, for very small lawns, and mulching blades have been around for decades. Same for the assumption that most people would use any kind of fertilizer on mowed areas. She completely forgot about or ignored the entire SE part of the country, where most people think in terms of controlling grass, not coddling it so it wastes even more of their time & $ to mow more often, for 8-9 months of the year. Obviously this woman has never taken a long drive across several states in the eastern half of the country, or she would have seen how ridiculous her "findings" are, how vast the uncoddled mowed areas are. Especially since the article said satellite images were insufficient, but used anyway. Sometimes when you read about how dumb smart people can be, (hopefully a correct assumption that you have to be fairly sharp to work for NASA,) it would be funny if it wasn't just so sad. Just the sq footage of mowed areas in the right-of-way along freeways & highways (and between the lanes of divided highways) is mind boggling. The article is 10 yrs old. Wonder what she would say about it now?
Why is NASA involved in anything like this? "Milesi also works almost full time in the ecological forecasting research group at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California.
" Hopefully this "research" entity is doing something else with tax $ besides just this ridiculousness.
Our lawn has about a dozen diff kinds of grass, and at least 25-40 other kinds of plants. If I could get rid of all of the grasses, I would, and am working on doing just that.
The book I mentioned above:
Redesigning the American Lawn; A Search for Environmental Harmony
Another good read, which gets more into some of the mass societal brainwashing Deb mentioned:
History of the lawn; A History of an American Obsession.