Toward less waste of fertilizer resources in urban landscapes

Gerald Kidder

Abstract


Fertilization recommendations of land grant universities are widely recognized as standards in plant production. However, many of today's urban landscape recommendations lead to waste of natural resources such as fertilizer, water, and fossil fuel. Historical and current attitudes that contribute to this situation include assuming that the highest landscaping standards are desired by all users, fostering expectations from landscape plants that are unrealistic for many clients, ignoring the non-cash costs of fertilization (e.g., environmental impacts and loss of non-renewable resources), and using questionable measures of plant performance in research. Suggested changes to reduce such inadvertent waste of resources include reevaluating ideals held by clients, doing research trials in conditions more typical of home landscapes, and using plant appearance evaluations as the primary effect measured. Changes in extension educational efforts include providing clients a range of ideals and standards for landscaping and landscape maintenance, assisting in determining site and personal preference limitations, and emphasizing management rather than technology. Classroom teachers can reevaluate ideas in the context of current professional literature, utilize the expertise of colleagues, and guard against perpetuating technical folklore and myth.

Keywords


fertilizing efficiency; florida yards and neighborhoods; home landscape; landscape management; nutrient waste

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283