Are homeowners willing to pay a price premium for environmentally friendly lawn fertilizers?

Hayk Khachatryan, Alicia Rihn, Michael Dukes


Urban sprawl in the past decades has substantially increased the area of maintained urban landscapes in the United States. In 2005, the area devoted to turfgrass was estimated at 40 million acres, which accounts for a quarter of the total urban area and a third of any irrigated cropland. Previous research discussed social and economic benefits associated with well-maintained residential lawns, mostly focusing on support for green ecosystems, community development, and real estate values. However, a host of research papers also pointed out improper landscaping practices, such as excessive fertilizer application, which may result in substantial negative impacts to the environment. This study investigates homeowners’ preferences for environmentally-friendly lawn care practices, specifically focusing on homeowners’ choice of lawn fertilizers in Florida. Using an online survey questionnaire, over 300 homeowners were asked to choose fertilizers from a number of hypothetical choice scenarios. Attitudinal and a standard set of socio-demographic variables were collected. Results from the mixed logit regression analysis showed that, on average, homeowners were willing to pay price premiums for fertilizers with controlled release nitrogen, phosphorus free, natural, organic, and “pet-friendly” attributes. Implications for relevant urban policies are discussed.

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