Tallahassee Scientist: Lawns Thirstier Than Trees

Jun 1, 2017

A new study published by the journal Water Resources Research casts a troubling light on the American fetish for an emerald green lawn. 

University of Utah researcher Elizaveta Litvak used low-cost tree sensors for her groundbreaking study on water use in urban landscapes.
Credit Elizaveta Litvak

An intense look at urban landscapes in Los Angeles concluded that some 70 billion gallons of water a year is being lost to evaporation, largely because of over watering of lawns.

Tallahassee-based researcher and co-author Elizaveta Litvak says a decade of field research involving individual tree sensors and satellite data turned up countless surprises. 

“The most mind-blowing part was when we discovered that grass was using much more water than trees. Because first my studies were completely focused on trees.”

The study was backed by a grant from the National Science Foundation. Litvak works remotely for the University of Utah.