3rd UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Daniela Chevasco
Session Name Posters - Social, Behavioral, and Economic Aspects of Nutrient Management
Category Social, behavioral, and economic aspects of nutrient Management
Poster Number 46
Author(s) Daniela  Chevasco,  University of Florida (Presenting Author)
  Patrick Minogue,  University of Florida
  Can Fertilization in Pine Straw Production Threaten Water Quality?
  Florida Forest Service county foresters were requested to update a list of pine straw producers and provide general information about pine straw production in their county. The response rate was 77% and most pine straw producers identified were in North Florida. Using the updated list, a second survey was mailed to pine straw producers to obtain information about the extent, location and magnitude of fertilization for pine straw production in North Florida. This survey explored trends in production, pine species raked, leasing costs, pine straw yields, price per bale, raking and fertilization practices, use of herbicides and the presence of the invasive Japanese climbing fern. The second survey response rate was 28%, representing 32,214 raked acres. Slash pine (Pinus elliottii L.) was the preferred species for straw raking, representing 89% of surveyed acres. Fifty percent of the surveyed producers were fertilizing, and of these 94% fertilized pine stands on sandy soils. However, only 17% have consulted an extension agent or consultant for fertilization recommendations. Moreover, soil testing was not done by 39% of producers that fertilized. Surveyed producers showed little knowledge about the type and amount of fertilizer that was applied. However, 69% of the surveyed producers were interested in learning about fertilization. Fertilizers were mostly applied during the spring (53%) but there were also applications during the fall and winter, when nitrogen fertilizer use is less efficient. Information from this survey can facilitate extension education efforts to promote sustainable pine straw production following BMPs to protect water quality.