Sod Farming – “Eco-Boosting”?


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Traditional farmers in NoVa – most are long gone, sold out to development.  But with real estate boom, green bonanza in sod. " Although rising prodcution costs and land prices have made growign food in the Wash area untenable for many, turf growers have enjoyed a healthy appetite for their product – among developers, landscapers and anyone eager for an insta-lawn.
Sod under cultivation has skyrocketed in last 7-8 years in MD and VA

At 50-60 cents a square foot, "We can’t grow it fast enough."  Lucrative. 

Irony: "As turf farming has grown more proifitable, though, a sod paradox has set in:  The industry is fed by the same suburbanm developmoent that seeks to consume it."

Must be local b/c of its less than 24-hour shelf life.  (Deliver in a.m. for installation that day.)

200-acre farm would need more than $1 ml in mowing and irrigation equipment, forklifts and delivery trucks, plus an auto-harvesting machine (average, $250,000)  Sod farming requires massive amountsn of water, esp in summer.  Local enviro groups say heavy water use and fert runoff are concerns associated with sod, just as many other crops.  Warpinski and other growers are quick to tout their products as an eco-boosting counterbalance to global warming and pollution.  "Home lawns are very beneficial – by producing oxygen, controlling erosion and creating a cooling effect," he said.

grower Tom Warpinski,former prez of MD Turfgrass ASsocaition.