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WFTX-TV: Fertilizers may not be so bad for the environment

Friday, August 23, 2013

FORT MYERS, Fla.- It turns out, certain types of fertilizer may not be nearly as harmful as once thought to be.

For some homeowners its a passion… keeping their lawn lush and green.

But if you wanted to pick up some fertilizer at the local hardward and garden store, you couldn’t use anything with nitrogen or phosperous during the summer months: June first through September 30th.

But there’s a new four year study out from University of Florida that provides new insight into the use of fertilizers during summer.

Professor Lori Trenholm is from the Environmental Horticulutre department at University of Florida.

She explains that “the data strongly supports fertilzing through the summer months.”

In fact she points out that its critical to use the most effective fertilizer during the summer months with the heavy rains “because thats when the grass is most actively growing and best take up the nutrients.”

The fear was fertilzier would run off in the rainy season and promote algea blooms in larger bodies of water.

But in reality, that fertilzer makes the turf stronger – giving it the ability to filter other contaminents during the heavy rains.

Bill Davidson is with the Everglades Golfcourse Superintendent Association
He explains it this way: “think of it like a sponge, the better root system you have- the bigger spong you have… the more it can absorb.”

Water quality specialist Karen Bickford helped author the Lee County fertilizer ordinance.
she said she needs to review all the science but points out that there would be less of a problem if people would just use native plants.

She says that’s “because their more drought tolerant they require less fertilizer , they require less water. So that means your using less resources.”

The biggest problem the investigators said is people using too much fertilizer.

If they just follow the guidelines, there shouldn’t be any impact to the environment.

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