KNOXVILLE, Tenn. –
Green grass puts green in the state’s coffers, but the question is “how much?”
Researchers with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture intend to
profile Tennessee’s turfgrass industry and measure its economic importance
through an online survey.
Jim Brosnan, Ph.D., a UTIA plant scientist, says an accurate measure of the
value of the industry is needed. “Turf affects everyone across the state, and
we need to capture a more complete sense of its value,” he said. “No one has
measured the industry’s breadth and impact since the mid 1990s, when the industry’s
impact was listed as $868.1 million. We expect to see a dramatic increase in
the value of the state’s green spaces,” he said.
Brosnan is co-director of the UT Center for Athletic
Field Safety and studies the intricacies of turfgrass production and
utilization especially for lawns and sports fields. He says the information
garnered from the survey will be helpful for city planners, elected officials,
recreation managers and even homeowners in understanding the diversity and
economic impact of turfgrass in Tennessee. “Turfgrass is more than
aesthetically pleasing. It has value in terms of labor, capital expenditures
and even municipal and personal property development,” he said.
The study defines turfgrass as “a contiguous
community of grasses, tolerant of traffic and defoliation from mowing a minimum
of two times per year, which is grown and maintained to improve the aesthetic
and functional quality of landscapes and utility areas.” That includes personal
lawns, sports fields, golf courses, playgrounds, cemeteries and just about any
grassy area in a parking lot.
To calculate the economic impact of Tennessee’s turfgrass industry,
Brosnan and a team of researchers need estimates of the industry’s revenues,
expenses and employment rate from survey participants across the
state. That’s where volunteers come into play. “We need broad
participation across the state from turf businesses as well as turf users,” he
The researchers invite managers of grassy areas of all kinds to invest
approximately 15 minutes and complete the on-line survey to help estimate the
value of the industry across the state.
“Whether you’re a homeowner, golf course manager, church deacon or professional
landscaper, we ask that the person most responsible for turfgrass production or
use decisions for a specific area complete the on-line survey. Widespread
participation is extremely important if we are to gain an accurate
understanding of the industry’s value and reach,” he said.
The information provided will be strictly confidential and only reported in
Support for this study has been provided by the Tennessee Turfgrass
Association, MidSouth Turfgrass Council, the Tennessee Chapter of the GCSAA,
the Tennessee Nursery & Landscape Association, Inc., and UT Department of
The survey is available online at http://turfsurvey.utk.edu
and Brosnan says the link will remain open through January 31, 2015.
Survey results are expected to be announced early in 2015.
The UT Institute of Agriculture provides instruction,
research and public service through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and
Natural Resources, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch,
including its system of 10 research and education centers, and UT Extension
offices in every county in the state.
Jim Brosnan, Associate Professor of Plant Sciences,