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West Florida Research and Education Center

West Florida Research and Education Center

Florida Department of Environmental Protection Funded Study

There is increasing concern about the effects that lawn and landscape management practices may have on natural water resources, particularly in a state with abundant water resources, encroaching urbanization, shallow water tables, karst soils, and other fragile ecosystems and habitats. Like other agricultural industries in Florida, Best Management Practices (BMPs) have been developed for the Green Industries in Florida in an attempt to mitigate any potential nonpoint source pollution of water resources from fertilization and other landscape maintenance practices. With the development and ensuing regulation of the BMPs, there was a need to quantify nutrient loading from these practices under different conditions and sites and to verify the currently recommended rates of nitrogen and phosphorus for use on lawn grass species throughout the state.‌

This research was undertaken by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF-IFAS) with $4.2 million in funding from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). The research was conducted in 3 locations statewide: the Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center, the Plant Science Research and Education Unit in Citra and the West Florida Research and Education Center in Jay. The research consisted of multiple projects, some of which were common to all locations. Over 120,000 water samples were taken along with 1,000,000 data points.

Turfgrass Nutrient Management Symposium

On January 15, 2013, a symposium was held at the Frank Stronach Plant Science Research and Education Center in Citra, Florida. The Symposium was comprised of presentations on the Results of the Evaluation of Urban Warm-Season Turfgrass Fertilization and Irrigation Best Management Practices to Minimize Nutrient Leaching Project, funded by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Each presentation was recorded along with a Q&A session, and comments from Andy Rackley, Director, Agricultural Environmental Services, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. These recordings can be viewed at:

Research Reports and Publications

Numerous reports and publications are being generated from this extensive research project. Selected publications are listed below and others will be added as they are published:

FDEP Grant Reports

  1. FDEP WM869 Study Final Report
  2. FDEP WM869 Study Executive Summary

Nutrient Leaching Peer-Reviewed Scientific Papers

  1. Nitrogen required for acceptable centipedegrass quality, color, growth rate, and nitrate leaching (Int. Turfgrass Soc. Res. J. 13:1-8)
  2. Annual nitrogen requirement of bahiagrass lawns lawns maintained in sub-tropical climates (Int. Turfgrass Soc. Res. J. 13:1-9)
  3. Nitrate Leaching from Soluble Nitrogen applied to ‘Floratam’ St. Augustinegrass and common centipedegrass during dormancy (Crop Sci. 56(2):837-844)
  4. Nitrogen rate required for acceptable St. Augustinegrass Nitrogen rate required for acceptable St. Augustinegrass and associated nitrate leaching (Crop Sci. 56(1):439-451)
  5. Nitrate Leaching and Turf Quality in Established 'Floratam' St. Augustinegrass and 'Empire' Zoysiagrass (J. of Environmental Quality)
  6. Nitrate Leaching and Turf Quality in Newly Sodded St. Augustinegrass (J. of Plant Nutrition)
  7. Orthophosphate Leaching in St. Augustinegrass and Zoysiagrass Grown in Sandy Soil under Field Conditions (J. of Environmental Quality)
  8. Effects of Sod Type, Irrigation, and Fertilization on Nitrate-Nitrogen and Orthophosphate-Phosphorus Leaching from Newly Established St. Augustinegrass Sod (Crop Science)
  9. Nitrate Leaching, Turf Quality, and Growth Rate of ‘Floratam’ St. Augustinegrass and Common Centipedegrass (Crop Science)

Turfgrass Management Peer-Reviewed Scientific Publications

  1. Water Use of St. Augustinegrass and Bahiagrass under Varying Nitrogen Rates (Agronomy Journal)
  2. St Augustinegrass Response to Nitrogen Sources Under Contrasting Application Rates and Frequency (International Turfgrass Society Research Journal)
  3. The Effect of Irrigation and Nitrogen on St Augustinegrass Color Quality and Growth (International Turfgrass Society Research Journal)

Miscellaneous Peer-Reviewed Scientific Publications

  1. Freezing Low Volume Aqueous Solutions to Preserve Ammonia and Nitrate plus Nitrite (Crop Science)

Theses and Dissertations

  1. Inorganic Nitrogen Leaching and Agronomic Response of St. Augustinegrass to Nitrogen Fertilization Strategies Under Residential Lawn Conditions – Neil Young, MS Thesis
  2. Role of Nitrogen and Clipping-Return on Turf Growth and Nitrate Leaching in Zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica Steud.) – Jinyong Bai, MS Thesis
  3. Effect of Nitrogen Rates and Mowing Heights on Nitrogen Leaching, Turf Quality, and Spectral Reflectance in Floratam St. Augustinegrass – Shweta Sharma, MS Thesis
  4. Phosphorus Response and Orthophosphate Leaching in Floratam St. Augustinegrass and Empire Zoysiagrass – Ronald González, Ph.D. Dissertation
  5. Nitrogen Leaching, Water Use Rates and Turf Response of St. Augustinegrass and Bahiagrass to Irrigation and Fertilizer Practices – Pauric McGroary, Ph.D. Dissertation