Reclaimed water and landscape management

Reclaimed Water and Landscape Management

For long time readers of this blog, you are no doubt familiar with our high praises of reclaimed water as an alternative to potable water for irrigation. To those tuning in for the first time, we greatly appreciate your desire to learn more about this extremely useful and sustainable resource.

On November 18, UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County hosted a panel discussion on reclaimed water and how it relates to irrigating and managing your landscape. Audience members ranged from suburban residents and Master Gardeners to golf course superintendents. Although coming from such different backgrounds, all had a unique desire to learn more about reclaimed water as a resource.

There were four speakers total, offering a wide perspective on the benefits and drawbacks of reclaimed water, what landscape plants do best with reclaimed water, signage and notification requirements for public and private lands, and some of the best management practices (or BMPs) for irrigating sports turf with reclaimed water.

For those who were unable to make it or to those who would like a recap, continue on below to see each presentation.

Introduction to Reclaimed Water

by Dr. Abbey Tyrna and Dr. Mary Lusk

Reclaimed water is also known as reuse water or recycled water. As the name implies, it’s wastewater that has been treated several times so that it is of high enough quality to use in certain projects. The most common use of reclaimed water is irrigating large areas of turf. This helps cut down on potable water use and preserves our current freshwater supply. In Dr. Tyrna’s presentation, we learn that there will be a shortage of potable water in the near future, that reclaimed water is a sustainable alternative for irrigation, and some of the common compounds found in reclaimed water.

Reclaimed Water and Landscape Plants: Troubleshooting Solutions

by Dr. Marguerite Beckford

Reclaimed water is known for being salty. Some plants have a higher salt tolerance than others. In her presentation, Dr. Beckford gives an overview of site conditions to consider when planning a landscape and recommends some salt-tolerant plant species for your yard or common green space.

Responsibilities and Notification Requirements for Golf Course Superintendents and Athletic Field Managers

by RSA Don Rainey

As a golf course superintendent, athletic field manager, or HOA Board member, making sure that your customers and residents know reclaimed water is in use is an important safety measure. Reclaimed water, although fine to use on plants, is not a replacement for drinking water. As such, people should not drink, play in, or otherwise come into contact with reclaimed water. The appropriate signage and language serve the purpose of keeping you and your course or field both accessible and compliant with the law.

Best Management Practices for Using Reclaimed Water on Golf and Athletic Turf

by Dr. J. Bryan Unruh

Knowing what’s in your reclaimed water is crucial to managing your sports turf. Dr. Unruh recommends testing frequently and having a good relationship with your reclaimed water provider. This can help with fine-tuning your watering and fertilizing schedules. When watering your turf, keep bicarbonates, pH, and salt in mind. Though harmless in low doses, these compounds can sometimes compromise grass growth and color – especially when compounded with too much fertilizer. To make sure that your grass is not getting too much of any one compound, you should closely monitor the levels of each in your reclaimed water and adjust your regular fertilization as necessary.

More Resources

Want to learn more about the stuff in the purple pipes? You can check out some of the following pages or reach out to the presenters themselves with any questions you have about their presentations.

Contact Information

Dr. Abbey Tyrna:

Dr. Mary Lusk:

Dr. Marguerite Beckford:

Dr. Don Rainey:

Dr. J. Bryan Unruh:

An Equal Opportunity Institution. UF/IFAS Extension, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension. Sarasota County prohibits discrimination in all services, programs or activities. View the complete policy at

Posted: December 9, 2020

Category: Events, Home Landscapes, Horticulture, Lawn, Turf, UF/IFAS Extension, Water
Tags: Athletic, Course, Field, Golf, Irrigation, Pgm_Water, Reclaimed, Turf, Water

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