Soil-Test-Based Phosphorus Recommendations for Commercial Agricultural Production in Florida

Handling a soil sample for testing at the UF soils testing lab. UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

This new 6-page publication of the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences is intended to address agronomic and environmental issues related to phosphorus (P) dynamics in Florida agricultural soils and soil test P interpretation and management for agricultural crops. This document aims to provide science-based information to agricultural clientele, including commercial producers, small farmers, Extension agents, crop consultants, landscape professionals, representatives of the fertilizer industry, state and local agencies, students and instructors of high schools and colleges, researchers, and interested Florida citizens. Written by Rao Mylavarapu, Yuncong Li, Maria Silveira, Cheryl Mackowiak, and Mabry McCray.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss699

Private Wells 101: Bacterial Contamination and Shock Chlorination

Case of bottled water. If your private well has flooded, an alternative water source, such as bottled water, should be used until you receive test results confirming your well water is safe to drink. Photo taken 08-06-20 by Cristina Carriz, UF/IFAS.

Private well users are responsible for the management and protection of their wells. This new 4-page EDIS publication is for Florida homeowners who are interested in learning more about their well-water system and understanding how to properly shock, or disinfect, the well if there is evidence of drinking water contamination. Written by Yilin Zhuang and Mary Lusk, and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss700

Management of Citrus Tree Canopies for Fresh-Fruit Production

Removal of sucker shoots from rootstock, bud union, and tree trunk, before (left) and after (right). Credit: International Citrus Technologies Pty Ltd, Western Australia

Canopy management is a useful tool to induce precocity and maintain high production of optimum-sized, high-quality fruit. The aim of this new 8-page publication of the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences is to provide growers with practical tools with which to manage their trees for maximum fresh-fruit yield, quality, and profitability. Written by Andrew Krajewski, Arnold Schumann, Tim Ebert, Chris Oswalt, Rhuanito S. Ferrarezi, and Laura Waldo.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss698

Living Shoreline Monitoring: How do I evaluate the environmental benefits of my living shoreline?

A living shoreline including elements such as sills of materials made to recruit oysters. Credit: Mark Clark, UF/IFAS

Living shorelines are structures made of natural materials such as oyster shell, sand, mangroves, salt marsh plants, and other organic materials built to protect properties from erosion. In addition to increasing shoreline stability, living shorelines enhance many valuable ecosystem functions. In this new 11-page publication of the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences, we provide homeowners, land managers, and Extension agents materials lists, protocols, and data sheets for measuring change in ecosystem function. Measuring and interpreting these measurements will help evaluate living shorelines projects as well as provide the foundation for monetarizing the value of these structures. Written by Laura K. Reynolds, Natalie C. Stephens, Savanna C. Barry, and Ashley R. Smyth.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss694

Stormwater Pond Management: What You Need to Know about Aeration

A stormwater pond in a residential neighborhood in Gainesville, FL. This fountain provides important functions to the pond while also providing aesthetic benefits. Credits: Samantha Howley, UF/IFAS

This new 6-page document is intended to provide Floridians and their communities with information on a specific management practice in stormwater ponds: the use of fountains and other aeration approaches. These practices may provide opportunities both to improve water quality within the pond and protect downstream water quality. Specifically, this document gives basic information on fountains and the pros and cons of fountain installation and use. In addition, we provide information for pond managers or community decision makers on how to best manage ponds for effective pollutant removal in the pond and downstream water quality protection. Written by Samantha T. Howley, Steven P. Hohman, and Alexander J. Reisinger, and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss695

Soil Health Response of Histosols to Flooded versus Dry-Fallow Conditions during Summer

Flooded rice land management practice in the EAA during summer. Credit: Jehangir H. Bhadha, UF/IFAS

Evaluating changes in soil properties associated with flooded fields during the summer months in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) provides us an opportunity to assess the effect of soil management associated with flooded versus dry-fallow field conditions on Histosols. This information will be beneficial to current and potential growers farming flooded rice in south Florida, as well as Extension agents who work on rice and soil conservation agencies such as the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). This new 6-page publication was written by Jehangir H. Bhadha, Jay Capasso, Abul Rabbany, Nan Xu, and Matthew VanWeelden, and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss697

Septic Systems and Springs Water Quality: An Overview for Florida

Ichetucknee Springs State Park. Photo taken 01-08-20.  Photo Credits:  UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones

Wastewater carries pathogens, nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), and trace organic chemicals that may be harmful to human health and ecosystem functioning. Thus, proper treatment of wastewater is crucial. While septic systems can be one means of effective wastewater treatment, there are some special considerations for their use in Florida because of unique geography and sandy soils. The purpose of this new 6-page publication of the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences is to explain the basics of how septic systems work and how they can affect springs water quality in Florida, with a special emphasis on potential N loading from septic systems. This document is intended for homeowners, the general public, and county, city, and other local personnel tasked with managing water quality in areas with septic systems. Written by Mary Lusk, Andrea Albertin, Whitney Elmore, William Lester, and James Moll.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss693

Computer Tools for Diagnosing Citrus Leaf Symptoms (Part 2): Smartphone Apps for Expert Diagnosis of Citrus Leaf Symptoms

A person's hand holding a smartphone, taking a picture of a leaf for analysis.

Visual identification of nutrient deficiencies in foliage is an important diagnostic tool for fine-tuning nutrient management of citrus. This new 2-page article describes a new smartphone app that uses a trained neural network to identify disease and pest symptoms on citrus leaves through your phone’s camera. Written by Arnold Schumann, Laura Waldo, Perseveranca Mungofa, and Chris Oswalt, and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss691

Wastewater and Septic System Management for the COVID-19 Virus: Frequently Asked Questions

The virus that causes COVID-19

This new 3-page publication of the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences answers common questions about the potential role of wastewater and septic systems in transmission of COVID-19. It is intended as guidance for the general public. Written by Mary G. Lusk.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss692

Biofuel: Concepts and Considerations

Flasks and containers of sorghum pulp representing sorghum based ethanol production. Biofuels, chemistry. Image used for the 2012 Annual Research Report.  Photo Credits:  UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones

Biofuels are combustible fuels derived from recently produced biomass, as opposed to ancient biomass, which is the source of petroleum products. The term biofuel usually refers to liquid fuels used as replacements for or additives to petroleum-based liquid fuel. This new 6-page publication of the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences serves as an introduction to biofuels for Extension educators and anyone interested in learning basic terminology, concepts, and impacts of biofuels as a replacement for fossil fuels. Written by Tanumoy Bera, Kanika S. Inglett, and Ann C. Wilkie.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss688

Pondweeds of Florida

Claspingleaf pondweed, Potamogeton perfoliatus. Credits: Jess Van Dyke, UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants

This new 9-page factsheet describes the defining characteristics of the eleven pondweed species that are present in Florida. It serves as a pondweed identification guide for aquatic habitat managers, lake monitors, conservationists, and plant enthusiasts, and it gives some context on each species’ life history and ecological role. Written by Christine Rohal, Laura Reynolds, Carrie Reinhardt Adams, and Charles Martin, and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss686

Landscaping on or near Septic Drain Fields

St. Augustinegrass Lawn. Credits: UF/IFAS

Septic systems are common throughout most rural areas, and their care and maintenance are essential to the health of people, wildlife, livestock, agricultural commodities, and water resources. One way to ensure optimal performance of your septic system is to landscape appropriately near the drain field. The purpose of this new 3-page publication of the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences is to provide landscape management guidance for septic system drain fields. Information presented here will be useful for homeowners, landscape management professionals, and Extension agents who work in horticulture, natural resources, agriculture, and family services. Written by Whitney C. Elmore, William Lester, James Moll, Andrea Albertin, and Mary Lusk.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss687

Climate Change and Florida: Frequently Asked Questions

Rivers and lakes overflowing after a severe storm or hurricane hits. (UF/Ifas photo: Marisol Amador)

Climate change is considered one of the biggest challenges facing society. As global temperatures continue to rise, we are threatened by melting ice sheets, rising sea levels, and extreme weather events. Climate change is also something that the people in south Florida live with daily. Still, the science of climate change is complicated, leaving many in the region looking for trusted information about why climate should matter to them. The purpose of this new 8-page FAQ document is to provide answers to commonly asked questions regarding climate change. The questions come from south Florida residents and municipal workers concerned with the climate outcomes to their region. The FAQ address several areas of concerns, including the basic science behind climate change, the projected impacts to residents of south Florida, and actions that individuals can take to reduce their carbon footprints. Written by Joshua Papacek, Ashley Smyth, Holly Abeels, and Alicia Betancourt, and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss682

Hemp Fertilization: Current Knowledge, Gaps and Efforts in Florida: A 2020 Report

Hemp (Cannabis sativa) cultivation in Florida. Credits: Luis Monserrate, graduate student, UF/IFAS Agronomy Department

Hemp is an annual herbaceous plant that may be grown for fiber, seed, or flowers. Starting in April 2020, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services began accepting applications for cultivation of hemp in Florida, with the potential for building a $20-$30 billion industry in the state. The statewide UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp Pilot Project is researching aspects of agronomic production for hemp cultivation. While a few other state soil testing laboratories provide soil tests and nutrient recommendations based on research and experience, at this time no Florida-specific data on nutrient requirements and fertilization are available. This new 5-page article, written by Rao Mylavarapu, Zachary Brym, Luis Monserrate, and Michael J. Mulvaney and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences, provides a summary of published and personal communications from different states on hemp fertilization.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss689

A Comparison of Planting Techniques for Submerged Aquatic Vegetation

Left: SAV meadow in clear spring water. Right: pondweed seen from the surface of a dark lake.

Submerged aquatic vegetation has numerous benefits for aquatic ecosystems, from improving water quality to providing important habitat that supports a diverse food web. This new 6-page publication of the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences describes the breadth of options available to managers who wish to plant SAV at new locations. Because all methods have both benefits and drawbacks, and because all planting locations have different (often unknown) challenges for plant survival, managers may choose to try multiple methods to increase the likelihood for success. Written by Laura Reynolds, Carrie Reinhardt Adams, Enrique Latimer, Charles W. Martin, Christine Rohal, and Jodi Slater.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss685

Computer Tools for Diagnosing Citrus Leaf Symptoms (Part 1): Diagnosis and Recommendation Integrated System (DRIS)

Diagnosis and Recommendation Integrated System (DRIS) logo

This new 2-page article provides instructions for using the Diagnosis and Recommendation Integrated System, or DRIS, a web tool designed for analyzing leaf nutrient concentrations of Florida citrus. Written by Arnold Schumann and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss683

An Overview of Key Soil Nitrogen Cycling Transformations

Turfgrass with a sprinkler in the foreground and a man approaching the camera from the back left of frame. UF/IFAS File Photo.

Although nitrogen (N) is one of the most abundant elements in the biosphere, it is generally at levels that are limiting for optimum plant growth and crop production in Florida soils. To maintain adequate N levels in Florida soils without having detrimental environmental side effects, one must understand and manage N cycling transformations and processes. This new 5-page article, published by the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences, provides an overview of the N cycle by describing key N transformations that result in soils gaining or losing N. The biotic and abiotic processes that govern these transformations are described, as well as practical examples of these transformations in Florida soils. Written by Clayton J. Nevins, Sarah L. Strauss, and Patrick Inglett.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss684

Nutrition of Florida Citrus Trees, Third Edition

Citrus fruit on trees in the campus orange groves. Photo taken 06-22-18.

This update to 2007’s second edition adds information regarding nutrition of Florida citrus trees affected by huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening. Much of the guidance provided in this document on nutrients, application methods, leaf and soil sampling, and irrigation scheduling is also effective for trees affected by HLB. However, research conducted since the previous edition was published has established changes in many production practices, including nutrient rates, irrigation scheduling, soil pH management, and use of Citrus Under Protective Screen (CUPS). Changes to the second edition will appear at the beginning of chapters 2, 6, 8, 9, and 11. See also this topic page for links to individual chapters in HTML and PDF formats. This 115-page book was edited by Kelly T. Morgan and Davie M. Kadyampakeni, and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss478

Sources and Transformations of Nitrogen in Urban Landscapes

An urban stormwater pond in Gainesville, FL.

With 80% of Florida’s residents living within 10 miles of the coast, Florida’s aquatic resources are directly affected by urbanization. The intent of this new 6-page publication of the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences is to describe the urban nitrogen cycle for a nontechnical audience. Ultimately, this document is intended for individuals working in urban environments and concerned about nutrient pollution and water quality issues, but do not have a technical background and want to improve their understanding of nitrogen cycling. Written by Alexander J. Reisinger, Mary G. Lusk, and Ashley R. Smyth.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss681

How to Properly Dispose of Unwanted Medications

Medicine bottles. Image by Bob Williams from Pixabay

Properly disposing of expired or unused medications can help reduce the prevalence of prescription drug abuse in Florida. It also helps prevent accidental ingestion by children or pets, helps prevent accidentally taking the wrong medication, and prevents medications from entering water sources. This new 3-page publication of the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences provides some dos and don’ts for disposing of your medications. Written by Alexander J. Reisinger.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss680