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Lawn Fertilization Practices on Private Property in the Croton System

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Watershed ManWatershed Management to Meet Water Quality Standards and TMDLS (Total Maximum Daily Load) Proceedings of the 10-14 March 2007, San Antonio, Texas  701P0207.(doi:10.13031/2013.22493)
Authors:   Charles R Cutietta-Olson, Vincent Giorgio, James Lee, Dianne Olsen, Anna Snider, Jennifer Stengle
Keywords:   Keywords: application to land, data collection, drinking water, fertilization, geographical information systems, lawns and turf, phosphorous, public survey, lawn care education

Reservoirs of New York City's Croton System (in Westchester, Putnam, and southern Dutchess Counties) exceed TMDLs for phosphorus, with non-point sources identified as the primary cause. Residential land use comprises 38% of the watersheds of this system. No information on residential lawn care practices and effective means of reaching the public was available, so using GIS and property tax role data, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection worked with Cornell Cooperative Extension offices in Westchester and Putnam counties to develop and distribute surveys about lawn care fertilization practices among individual residents in and to commercial landscapers with clients in the Croton System watersheds. Results indicate a significant majority of respondents use lawn fertilizers on a seasonal basis but do not perform soil nutrient analyses prior to fertilization. Respondents were interested in receiving various forms of information about lawn care, with newsletters the preferred format.

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