CALCULATING FERTILIZER EASILY: A USEFUL TOOL T. McIntyre UF/IFAS Extension, Seminole County, Sanford, FL 32773
Situation/Problem Statement and Objectives: Nutrient runoff and leaching can be attributed to a lack of best management practices in the home landscape, including improper fertilization. Homeowners play an integral role in how they or their hired professionals fertilize and maintain their yards but determining how much to apply to the lawn can be complicated. The right application amount is critical to the success of the plant and protecting water quality.
Education Methods/Procedure/Approach: To overcome the daunting feeling many residents have when it comes to calculating fertilizer application, we created a Fertilizer Calculator, located at www.seminolecountyfl.gov/fertcalculator, which does the math for them. The Fertilizer Calculator is a widely available tool that can be used by all to assist in calculating the correct amount to apply to their specific lawn. All the resident needs are the information from the bag including the % total nitrogen, % slow-release nitrogen and the sq. ft. of their yard and the calculator will provide them with the pounds of fertilizer per 1000 sq. ft. and the pounds of fertilizer they should apply to their lawn.
Results/Findings/Product: Since the inception of the calculator in 2017 there has been 580+ visitors to the digital tool. Quantifying fertilizer impact to water quality is site specific, however, even if 50% of those users went from over fertilizing their yard to proper fertilization practices, a significant reduction in fertilizer runoff and leaching would be realized.
Conclusion: Homeowners and their hired professionals need to have tools to help them implement best management practices, such as proper fertilization, in their yard. The Fertilizer Calculator has helped residents properly calculate the fertilizer needed for their specific scenario. Non-point Sources Pollution can be mitigated by educating residents and providing them tools that assist them in dealing with complicated calculations such as the application of fertilizer