Journal of NACAA

A Lawn Care Education Program to Address Water Conservation and Water Pollution Prevention in New Jersey

ISSN 2158-9429

Volume 4, Issue 2 - December 2011

Editor: Linda Chalker-Scott


Landscapes that have a significant portion of their land cover maintained as turfgrass have the potential to use large quantities of potable water for irrigation.  These landscapes also contribute to phosphorus and nitrogen runoff and leaching.  An outreach program was developed to address the association of turfgrass management and water resources issues.  This included a homeowner survey that found that less than 50% of respondents performed certain good horticultural practices such as testing soils, though 79% of respondents reported performing the majority of lawn care themselves.  Students participating in environmentally-friendly lawn care classes reported an increase in knowledge about the importance of soil testing, determining how much fertilizer to apply, and how turfgrass in the landscape relates to larger water resources issues.  More than 80% reported that they were likely to use what they had learned, including having their soil tested, following guidelines for fertilizer application, and measuring the amount of irrigation water applied.  Other program components included demonstration lawn renovations and a webpage with links to extension resources.  Effectively reaching a numerous and diverse group of stakeholders like homeowners would likely prove to be difficult; however, the positive response from municipal officials, Master Gardeners, and non-governmental organizations addressed by this program suggests that outreach materials and education for these groups will prove valuable in disseminating information and resources to a broader group of homeowners.

View/Download Full Article