EXTENSION CONNECTION: The 4 R's of fertilizer application

Published: Sunday, June 15, 2014 at 02:58 PM.

At the right time. This is when plants are actively growing and beginning to show nutrient deficiencies. Summer, when rainfall and irrigation are frequent, is a typical application time.

Over the right place. That is, only on living plant areas. Avoid getting fertilizer on the sidewalk, driveway and street. A deflector on your spreader is helpful.

Otherwise, sweep or blow the fertilizer back onto the grass or into the landscape beds. Avoid having fertilizer end up in any water body.

The final factor is irrigation. To obtain the most benefit from fertilizer, the 4 R's must also be applied to irrigation. The water source, application rate, frequency and duration of application, and uniformity of the sprinkler system on the application site dramatically affect the results of fertilizer applications.

Learn more about irrigation timing and system calibration.

Nutrient and irrigation management are critical to conserve and protect Florida’s natural resources. We must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sheila Dunning is an agent at the University of Florida's Extension office in Crestview.

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