St. Johns River Water Management District St. Johns River Water Management District St. Johns River Water Management District St. Johns River Water Management District St. Johns River Water Management District St. Johns River Water Management District
St. Johns River Water Management District - www.sjrwmd.com

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Water conservation

Lawn maintenance

When fertilizing, using the correct amount of fertilizer can save water and money, reduce the amount of pollutants reaching waterways, and result in a healthier landscape. Overfertilizing will aggravate pest problems, stimulate excessive plant growth, and demand frequent irrigation.

Full fertilizer spreader sitting ready to use on a lawn

Fertilizers should be used only when specific nutrient deficiency symptoms are evident. These deficiencies can be determined by conducting a soil test or analysis. Florida-friendly lawns require only moderate amounts of supplemental fertilizer once they are established.

Avoid overuse of fertilizers, especially near the water’s edge. Rain and lawn watering can wash excess fertilizer into water bodies, where excess nutrients cause algal blooms and weed growth. The amount of fertilizer to apply depends on a number of factors, such as grass species, soil type and permeability, and your location in the state.

Apply fertilizers sparingly and follow the manufacturer’s directions on the bag, in terms of the amount per application. Know exactly the square footage of your lawn that the bag of fertilizer is intended to cover.

Florida soil is naturally high in phosphorus, and a “no phosphate” fertilizer is fine for most mature lawns. Apply a phosphate fertilizer only if a soil test demonstrates the need. For information specific to your area, contact the local County Cooperative Extension Service.

The best fertilizers for healthy landscapes and the environment are those that contain a high percentage of slow-release nitrogen. Slow-release products stay in the soil to supply nutrients to plants over a longer period of time. The product label will identify organic, slow-release or controlled release nitrogen, sulfur-coated, IBDU (15N-isobutylidene divrea), or resin-coated.

Fertilize only during the growing season, which can vary depending on where you live in Florida. Allow a month between autumn application and the first freezing temperatures, which will make new growth less vulnerable to frost.

A push lawn mower mowing grass

Use pesticides, herbicides and fungicides only when needed, and apply them responsibly, following the label’s directions.

Cut your grass at the highest recommended height for your turf species or the highest setting on your lawn mower. Cut no more than one-third of the grass length at one time to encourage grass roots to grow deeper.

Keep mower blades sharp for a clean cut; dull blades tear grass, opening it to disease and increasing its need for water and fertilizer. Leave short grass clippings where they fall. The clippings reduce the lawn’s need for water and fertilizer. Remove thick patches of clippings so that the clippings will not kill the grass underneath.

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St. Johns River Water Management District
4049 Reid Street, Palatka, FL 32177
(800) 725-5922