Urban Fertilizer Ordinances in the Context of Environmental Horticulture and Water Quality Extension Programs: Frequently Asked Questions

Gardener fertilizing yard. Grass, turf, broadcast spreader.

Excess nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in water bodies are a leading cause of water quality degradation statewide. More than 50 Florida counties and municipalities now have formal fertilizer ordinances, which in some cases include fertilizer blackouts, or bans on the usage of N and P fertilizers during certain times of the year. This 8-page document provides information on the underlying issues of fertilizer use, with an emphasis on an urban setting, and outlines the current state of the science on urban fertilizers and water quality in Florida. Written by Michael D. Dukes, Lisa Krimsky, Mary Lusk, Laurie Trenholm, Bryan Unruh, Michelle Atkinson, and Rao Mylavarapu, and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, February 2020.

Floridians' Engagement in Landscape Best Practices to Protect Water Resources: Information from a 2018 Survey

A rain barrel used to water plants at the Indigo Green Store in Gainesville, Florida. Gardening, watering plants, sustainable living, UF/IFAS Photo: Tyler Jones.

Extension programs are most effective when informed by a deep understanding of the target audience. To guide programs in Florida’s managed landscapes, especially pertaining to water quality and conservation, faculty from the UF/IFAS Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology conduct an annual statewide survey. The survey gathers data that includes common landscape elements, neighborhood characteristics, engagement in irrigation and fertilizer best practices, and learning preferences. This new 5-page publication of the UF/IFAS Department of Agricultural Education and Communication presents highlights from the 2018 statewide survey with recommendations for how to use the information. Written by Laura A. Warner, Esen Momol, Claire Lewis, Tom Wichman, Wendy Wilber, and A. J. Reisinger.

Florida Gardening Calendars

A watering tin and gardening gloves at a home garden.
Not sure what to plant and when? Confused about how to care for your lawn differently during the winter or summer? Consult the Florida Gardening Calendar for your region (North, South, and Central). The calendars give instructions for planting ornamentals, fruits, and vegetables; lawn care and management; and irrigation and pest control for each month of the year. Split into sections about “What to Plant” and “What to Do,” these calendars are handy for any type of home garden. Written by Sydney Park Brown, and published by the Environmental Horticulture Department.
Central Florida Gardening Calendar: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep450
North Florida Gardening Calendar: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep451
South Florida Gardening Calendar: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep452

School Garden: Plastic Wading Pool Hydroponics

Wading pool floating garden.School gardens are a great way to get youth interested in where their food comes from. Hydroponics, or the cultivation of plants in liquid nutrient solutions rather than in soil, is a fascinating way to teach students about food systems. This 4-page fact sheet lists the materials, tools, and construction steps needed to grow a variety of crops in a wading pool hydroponic garden. Written by Edmund L. Thralls, and published by the UF Department of Environmental Horticulture, October 2015.