Skip to main content
Satisfaction, Water and Fertilizer Use in the American Residential Macrosystem
Environmental Research Letters
  • Peter M. Groffman, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
  • J. Morgan Grove, U.S. Forest Service
  • Colin Polsky, Florida Atlantic University
  • Neil D. Bettez, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
  • Jennifer L. Morse, Portland State University
  • Jeannine Cavender-Bares, University of Minnesota - St. Paul
  • Sharon J. Hall, Arizona State University
  • James B. Heffernan, Duke University
  • Sarah E. Hobbie, University of Minnesota
  • Kelli L. Larson, Arizona State University
  • Christopher Neill, The Ecosystems Center Marine Biological Laboratory
  • Kristen C. Nelson, Department of Forest Resources and Fisheries
  • Laura A. Ogden, Florida International University
  • Jarlath O'Neil-Dunne, University of Vermont
  • Diane E. Pataki, University of Utah
  • Rinku Roy Chowdhury, Indiana University - Bloomington
  • Dexter H. Locke, University of Utah
Document Type
Publication Date
  • Lawns,
  • Land use,
  • Urban ecology

Residential yards across theUSlook remarkably similar despite marked variation in climate and soil, yet the drivers of this homogenization are unknown. Telephone surveys of fertilizer and irrigation use and satisfaction with the natural environment, and measurements of inherent water and nitrogen availability in sixUScities (Boston, Baltimore, Miami, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Phoenix, Los Angeles) showed that the percentage of people using irrigation at least once in a year was relatively invariant with little difference between the wettest (Miami,85%) and driest (Phoenix,89%) cities. The percentage of people using fertilizer at least once in a year also ranged narrowly (52%–71%), while soil nitrogen supply varied by 10x. Residents expressed similar levels of satisfaction with the natural environment in their neighborhoods. The nature and extent of this satisfaction must be understood if environmental managers hope to effect change in the establishment and maintenance of residential ecosystems.


Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI.

Persistent Identifier
Citation Information
Groffman, P. M., Grove, J. M., Polsky, C., Bettez, N. D., Morse, J. L., Cavender-Bares, J., … Locke, D. H. (2016). Satisfaction, water and fertilizer use in the American residential macrosystem. Environmental Research Letters, 11(3), 034004.