Georgia Homeowner Survey of Landscape Management Practices

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 Center for Urban Agriculture, University of Georgia, Griffin, Campus, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, GA 30223-1797.
  • | 2 Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Georgia, Griffin, Campus, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, GA 30223-1797.
  • | 3 Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Georgia, Griffin, Campus, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, GA 30223-1797.
  • | 4 Department of Horticulture, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 301B Sauders Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061.
  • | 5 Department of Entomology, University of Georgia, Griffin, Campus, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, GA 30223-1797.

A survey of Georgia homeowners provided insights about their use of fertilizers and pesticides. Knowledge of current homeowner practices is needed to develop a best management practices manual to be used by Master Gardeners to train the general public through the existing outreach programs. The objective of the training program is to reduce nutrient runoff and garden chemicals and improve the quality of surface water in urban water-sheds. Results showed three of four homeowners did their own landscaping and, therefore, fully controlled the amount of applied chemicals and the area of application. Fertilizers were primarily applied to lawns, but a high percentage of homeowners also applied them to trees, shrubs, and flowers. Insecticides were applied by a larger percentage of homeowners than herbicides. Control of fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) was likely the reason behind the frequent use of insecticides. The desire for a weed free lawn was the plausible motivation behind the use of herbicides, which were used mostly on lawns. Fungicide use was infrequently reported by Georgia homeowners. The pattern of fertilizer and pesticide use suggests that the developed manual should emphasize techniques and cultural practices, which could lower the dependence on chemicals, while ultimately assuring the desired appearance of turf and ornamental plants.