Widespread urbanization in the United States has increased the number of lawns. A healthy lawn provides many benefits, including urban heat dissipation, water quality protection, erosion control, carbon sequestration, community safety, aesthetics, and property value growth. Many homeowners maintain their healthy lawns by applying fertilizers throughout the growing season, but excess fertilizer runoff and leaching have received much attention recently because of waterway pollution and algae blooms, leading many states to place restrictions on what chemicals can be used in lawn fertilizers.
Consumers’ increased environmental awareness creates a niche opportunity for the fertilizer industry to promote environmentally friendly lawn fertilizers, but in order to effectively exploit it, industry stakeholders must understand consumer purchasing behavior before expending labor, time, and money creating products for sale. The following 3-page report written by Hayk Khachatryan, Alicia Rihn, and Michael Dukes and published by the Food and Resource Economics Department covers research methodology and the existing brand awareness and selection of consumers in the lawn fertilizer industry. It also discusses homeowners’ preferences for certain fertilizer attributes. Consumer awareness, selection, and attribute preferences indicate existing behavior, and understanding existing behavior assists in the development of effective marketing programs, promotional strategies, and policies.
Consumer preferences for home lawn fertilizers are not always informed and do not always align with best practices. Understanding the disconnect will help turf industry educators better address consumers’ misperceptions about fertilizers, and help industry stakeholders design more appealing products and educate consumers effectively as they promote them. Knowing consumer preferences greatly reduces stakeholders’ risks and improves efficiency in determining future product and promotional strategies. This 4-page report discusses the findings of a 2013 survey of 1,066 US homeowners about their preferences and willingness-to-pay for various lawn fertilizer attributes. Written by Hayk Khachatryan, Alicia Rihn, and Michael Dukes and published by the Food and Resource Economics Department.
In many neighborhoods, people envy the individual with the most beautiful lawn and think they cannot grow a lawn of equal quality. That is not necessarily true. A well-maintained lawn only requires some knowledge about fertilization, watering, pest control, and mowing. This publication provides basic information about fertilization. By far, the best approach to a proper fertilization program is to start with a soil test, but, if a soil test is not available, these guidelines can be used for a general turfgrass fertilization program. Original publication date May 1991. Revised August 2013 and August 2015.
While a healthy lawn typically takes up and uses applied fertilizer for growth and protein production, nutrients may leach or run off into water bodies or groundwater when fertilizer is overapplied or applied to an unhealthy lawn. In an attempt to reduce this nonpoint source pollution, FDACS developed a rule to regulate the amount of N and P applied to lawns as fertilizer. The Urban Turf Fertilizer Rule regulates what can be sold and marketed as an urban turf fertilizer and requires specific wording on the fertilizer bag. This rule was enacted in response to concerns over potential pollution of water resources resulting from the nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in these fertilizers. This 3-page fact sheet was written by Laurie E. Trenholm, and published by the UF Department of Environmental Horticulture, March 2013.
ENH1174, a 3-page fact sheet by Laurie E. Trenholm, Jason K. Kruse, and J. Bryan Unruh, describes the nutrients in fertilizer that are most important for keeping turfgrass healthy and when to fertilize. Published by the UF Department of Environmental Horticulture, October 2010.
SL-283, an 11-page illustrated fact sheet by George Hochmuth, Terril Nell, Jerry Sartain, Bryan Unruh, Michael Dukes, Chris Martinez, Laurie Trenholm, and John Cisar, discusses the research behind turfgrass growth, biology, and ecology, and soil nutrient cycling in the lawn. The unintended consequences of fertilizer ordinance restricted periods are presented to open dialogue among the stakeholders in the ordinance issue and to ensure that all information is presented to completely inform the policy-making process. Includes references. Published by the UF Department of Soil and Water Sciences, March 2009.
Revised! ENH-962, a 4-page illustrated fact sheet by L.E. Trenholm and J.B. Unruh, help homeowners understand how to properly handle fertilizers and apply the correct amounts of fertilizer at the appropriate times. Published by the UF Department of Environmental Horticulture, February 2009.