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Creators/Authors contains: "O'Neil-Dunne, Jarlath"

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  1. Abstract

    Despite interest in the contribution of evapotranspiration (ET) of residential turfgrass lawns to household and municipal water budgets across the United States, the spatial and temporal variability of residential lawn ET across large scales is highly uncertain. We measured instantaneous ET (ETinst) of lawns in 79 residential yards in six metropolitan areas: Baltimore, Boston, Miami, Minneapolis‐St. Paul (mesic climates), Los Angeles and Phoenix (arid climates). Each yard had one of four landscape types and management practices: traditional lawn‐dominated yards with high or low fertilizer input, yards with water‐conserving features, and yards with wildlife‐friendly features. We measured ETinstin situ during the growing season using portable chambers and identified environmental and anthropogenic factors controlling ET in residential lawns. For each household, we used ETinstto estimate daily ET of the lawn (ETdaily) and multiplied ETdailyby the lawn area to estimate the total volume of water lost through ET of the lawn (ETvol). ETdailyvaried from 0.9 ± 0.4 mm d1in mesic cities to 2.9 ± 0.7 mm d−1in arid cities. Neither ETinstnor ETdailywas significantly influenced by yard landscape types and ETinstpatterns indicated that lawns may be largely decoupled from regional rain‐driven climate patterns. ETvolranged from ∼0 L d−1to over 2,000 L d−1, proportionally increasing with lawn area. Current irrigation and lawn management practices did not necessarily result in different ETinstor ETdailyamong traditional, water‐conserving, or wildlife‐friendly yards, but smaller lawn areas in water‐conserving and wildlife‐friendly yards resulted in lower ETvol.

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  2. Abstract

    The conversion of native ecosystems to residential ecosystems dominated by lawns has been a prevailing land‐use change in the United States over the past 70 years. Similar development patterns and management of residential ecosystems cause many characteristics of residential ecosystems to be more similar to each other across broad continental gradients than that of former native ecosystems. For instance, similar lawn management by irrigation and fertilizer applications has the potential to influence soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) pools and processes. We evaluated the mean and variability of total soil C and N stocks, potential net N mineralization and nitrification, soil nitrite (NO2)/nitrate (NO3) and ammonium (NH4+) pools, microbial biomass C and N content, microbial respiration, bulk density, soil pH, and moisture content in residential lawns and native ecosystems in six metropolitan areas across a broad climatic gradient in the United States: Baltimore, MD (BAL); Boston, MA (BOS); Los Angeles, CA (LAX); Miami, FL (MIA); Minneapolis–St. Paul, MN (MSP); and Phoenix, AZ (PHX). We observed evidence of higher N cycling in lawn soils, including significant increases in soil NO2/NO3, microbial N pools, and potential net nitrification, and significant decreases in NH4+pools. Self‐reported yard fertilizer application in the previous year was linked with increased NO2/ NO3content and decreases in total soil N and C content. Self‐reported irrigation in the previous year was associated with decreases in potential net mineralization and potential net nitrification and with increases in bulk density and pH. Residential topsoil had higher total soil C than native topsoil, and microbial biomass C was markedly higher in residential topsoil in the two driest cities (LAX and PHX). Coefficients of variation for most biogeochemical metrics were higher in native soils than in residential soils across all cities, suggesting that residential development homogenizes soil properties and processes at the continental scale.

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