A review of turfgrass fertilizer management practices: Implications for urban water quality

Richard O. Carey, George J. Hochmuth, Christopher J. Martinez, Treavor H. Boyer, Vimala D. Nair, Michael D. Dukes, Gurpal S. Toor, Amy L. Shober, John L. Cisar, Laurie E. Trenholm, Jerry B. Sartain

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Urban watersheds include extensive turfgrass plantings that are associated with anthropocentric attitudes toward landscapes. Native and constructiondisturbed urban soils often cannot supply adequate amounts of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) for the growth and beauty of landscape plants. Hence, fertilization of landscape plants is practiced. Mismanaged fertilization and irrigation practices represent a potential source of nutrients that may contribute to water quality impairment. This review focuses on turfgrass fertilization practices and their impacts on urban water quality. Research results show that fertilization during active growth periods enhances turfgrass nutrient uptake efficiencies. The major concern regarding the fertilization of turfgrass and landscape plants in urban watersheds, therefore, is selecting the proper combination of fertilizer rate, timing, and placement that maximizes nutrient utilization efficiency and reduces the risk for nutrient loss to water bodies. Encouraging individuals to adopt best management practices (BMPs) is a priority for watershed managers. Research has found that educational programs are an important part of changing fertilization habits and that education needs to be thorough and comprehensive, which is beyond the scope of many seminars and fact sheets currently in use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-291
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Landscaping practices
  • Nitrogen
  • Nutrient leaching
  • Nutrient runoff
  • Phosphorus
  • Socioeconomics
  • Turfgrass irrigation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture


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