Economic Impacts of the Turfgrass and Lawncare Industry in the United States1

John J. Haydu, Alan W. Hodges, and Charles R. Hall 2

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Executive Summary

The turfgrass and lawncare industry in the United States continues to grow rapidly due to strong demand for residential and commercial property development, rising affluence, and the environmental and aesthetic benefits of turfgrass in the urban landscape. Economic sectors of the industry include sod farms, lawncare services, lawn and garden retail stores, and lawn equipment manufacturing. Golf courses were also included in this study as a major industry that depends upon highly managed turfgrass for golf play. Numerous studies have been conducted on the economic impacts of the turfgrass and lawncare industry for individual states or regions; however, this research is the first to report results for the entire United States.

Economic impacts of the U.S. turfgrass and lawncare industry in 2002 were estimated based upon survey data in conjunction with various published sources of secondary data, and economic multipliers derived from regional input-output models for each state using the Implan software system and associated datasets. Information gathered for each sector included number of establishments, employment, payroll, and sales receipts. Sources included the 2002 Census of Agriculture (sod farms), the 2002 Economic Census Industry Report Series, and County Business Patterns (U.S. Commerce Department).

As defined in this study, the five sectors comprising the U.S. turfgrass industry in 2002 generated total output (revenue) impacts of $57.9 billion (Bn), employment impacts of 822,849 jobs, value added impacts of $35.1 Bn, labor income of $23.0 Bn, and $2.4 Bn in indirect business taxes to local and state governments. If these values are expressed in 2005 dollars, the total output impact was $62.2 Bn and the total value added impact was $37.7 Bn. The value added impact represents total personal and business net income.

Among individual sectors, sod producers created nearly $1.8 Bn in output impacts, $1.3 Bn in value added, and 17,028 jobs. Lawn equipment manufacturers contributed $8.0 Bn in output, $2.5 Bn in value added, and supported nearly 34,000 jobs. The lawncare goods retailing sector produced $9.1 Bn in output impacts, contributed $5.8 Bn in value added, and sustained 114,294 jobs. The lawncare services sector generated nearly $19.8 Bn in output impacts, $13.3 Bn in value added, and 295,841 jobs. Golf courses had $23.3 Bn in output impacts, $14.5 Bn in value added, and 361,690 jobs.

Economic impacts were summarized for individual states and seven geographic regions of the United States, with the turfgrass and lawncare industry having significant activity in all areas of the United States. The top ten individual states in terms of employment impacts were California (101,022 jobs), Florida (83,944), Texas (52,784), Ohio (33,154), Illinois (31,625), Pennsylvania (30,845), North Carolina (28,860), Georgia (27,327), South Carolina (25,083), and New York (23,965). Regionally, the Southeast was the largest in terms of employment impacts (197,711 jobs), followed by the East-Central (159,358), Western Coastal (130,862), South-Central (112,284), North-Central (100,738), Western-Interior (64,226), and Northeast (57,671).


1. This document is FE632, one of a series of the Food and Resource Economics Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date March 2006. Reviewed December 2018. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.
2. John J. Haydu, professor, Food and Resource Economics Department, UF/IFAS Mid-Florida Research and Education Center; Alan W. Hodges, associate-In, Food and Resource Economics Department; and Charles R. Hall, professor, Departament of Agricultural Economics, University of Tennessee; UF/IFAS Extension Gainesville, FL 32611.