Assessment of Landscape Practices in Lawn -Dominated Landscapes: The Inertia of Lawn Culture
David Myers

This presentation reports the effectiveness of personalized property information and the impacts of landscape behavior and lawn reduction activities in nine selected lawn-dominated suburban neighborhoods. The promotion of more environmentally-sound landscape practices in the Chesapeake Bay, "bayscape" practices, is an important component in achieving nutrient reduction target goals. The author provided three methods of influencing behavior and then measured awareness using follow-up surveys. The methods are, one, on site landscape demonstrations in three selected neighborhoods in spring 2003, two, creation and distribution of ninety personalized flyers with individual landscape and house photographs, and three, distribution of existing literature to three neighborhoods. Survey results include both quantitative and qualitative data. Results from this study follow similar national trends with approximately one third of lawn care being provided by a lawn service. Fertilization regimes varied. About one quarter of respondents did not apply fertilizer in the preceding year while almost ten percent applied fertilizer more than three times per year. Awareness of the term "bayscape" is very low but a substantial number of respondents connected the term with improving the environment. Personalized property information showed only marginal impact in informing respondents about the term "bayscape". Lawn habitats and the landscape practices used in their maintenance have significant biological implications, particularly given trends of increasing residential lot size. Results suggest that a better understanding of socio- cultural drivers in these landscapes is critical for achieving environmental goals in single-family detached housing landscapes.

Keywords: socio-cultural drivers, landscape behavior, nature and culture, lawn reduction.

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