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The Myakka River gently flows as it meanders through Myakka River State Park.

Bay-Friendly Fertilizing for Fairways and Rough

Follow these two easy steps to see just how much fertilizer you could save irrigating with reclaimed water.

Step 1. Find out where you get your reclaimed water.

Step 2. Find out how much fertilizer you could save based on your reclaimed water use.

    About the Tool

    Reclaimed water is a great and inexpensive resource for golf courses. Due to the amount of play and traffic, play areas require more maintenance and timely irrigation to ensure playability and player safety.

    Reclaimed water from Sarasota County contains variable levels of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). Too much nitrogen is a water pollutant.

    Depending upon the level of wastewater treatment in reclaimed water production, golf course superintendents may offset their nitrogen fertilizer budget during certain times of the year. This tool was created to help you do just that.

    By using the tool, you can account for your reclaimed water's nutrients in your fertilizer calculations to avoid over-fertilizing. Below you will find information on the average total nitrogen (TN) levels of the three main water reclamation facilities (WRFs) in Sarasota County.

    Follow the steps below to see how much fertilizer you can save.

     

    Step 1. Find out where you get your reclaimed water.

     

    Depending on where you get your reclaimed water, you will likely have a different concentration of nitrogen in your irrigation water. In unincorporated Sarasota County, there are three water reclamation facilities that provide reclaimed water to golf courses, athletic fields, and other recreational facilities: the Bee Ridge Water Reclamation Facility, the Central County Water Reclamation Facility, and the Venice Gardens Water Reclamation Facility.

    Type your address in the top left corner of the map below to figure out your reclaimed water service area*.

    *Some reclaimed water service areas may not be available in this dataset.

     

    Step 2. Find out how much fertilizer you could save based on your reclaimed water use.

     

    Keep the Bay Blue, Not Green.  

    Nitrogen fertilizer must contain at least 50 percent slow-release nitrogen, and no more than 4 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet may be applied to turf or landscape plants each year.

    Per application, the University of Florida recommends no more than 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of turfgrass, and remember, your reclaimed water is already delivering a portion of that amount.

     

    See total nitrogen (TN) trends in your reclaimed water.

     

    Values are calculated from the 2022 and 2023 Total Nitrogen (TN) data of the Bee Ridge, Central County, and Venice Gardens Water Reclamation Facilities. Our TN values were converted from mg/L to lbs./1,000 sq. ft. using a conversion formula from Accounting for the Nutrients in Reclaimed Water for Landscape Irrigation by Martinez et al..

     

    Current Monthly Average - Total Nitrogen (December 2022)

     

    Water Reclamation FacilityTotal Nitrogen (mg/L)
    Bee Ridge 7.90
    Central County 5.41
    Venice Gardens 14.55
    SOURCE: Sarasota County Utilities

     

    Average Total Nitrogen (2022)

     

    This line graph shows monthly fluctuations in the average TN concentration (mg/L) in 2022.

     

    Cumulative Total Nitrogen (2022)

     

    These values are based on weekly 1 inch irrigation applications through 2022.

    Water Reclamation FacilityTotal Nitrogen (lbs./1,000 sq. ft)
    Bee Ridge 2.33
    Central County 1.91
    Venice Gardens 4.30
    SOURCE: Sarasota County Utilities

     

    Check out the approximate Total Nitrogen applied through your reclaimed water.

     

    Using 2022 reclaimed water data, we calculated the pounds of total nitrogen applied to 100 acres of fairways and roughs at a standard golf course. The values below are based on an assumption of weekly 1 inch irrigation applications over 38 weeks. This accounts for 14 weeks of sufficient moisture when turf does not need supplemental irrigation. You can use this information to help you determine your fertilizer amendments for 2023.

    Water Reclamation FacilityTotal Nitrogen (lbs. TN/100 acres)
    Bee Ridge 6,849
    Central County 5,524
    Venice Gardens 12,645
    SOURCE: Sarasota County Utilities

     

    Tip: Test the nitrogen in your turf for more accurate fertilization.

    One way to know if your turf is getting adequate nitrogen is through testing the nitrogen (N) concentrations in turf tissue.

    See the table below for nitrogen recommendations for various turfgrass species. Bermudagrass, for instance, should have around 2.5 - 3.5% N concentration.

    Sufficient Nitrogen Concentrations for Turfgrass

    To test your turfgrass for its nitrogen concentration, mail a filled out form and turfgrass sample to the UF/IFAS Extension Soil Testing Laboratory in Gainesville, Florida.

     

    FERTILIZER RESTRICTION PERIOD! Do not use nitrogen-based fertilizer from June 1 - September 30 during Sarasota County's rainy season.

       

     

    For Homeowner Associations

     

    Are you an HOA representative? If you would you like us to estimate the nitrogen in your community's irrigation water, contact mdimperio@ufl.edu to set up a free appointment.

     

    Disclaimer: 

    Natural cycling of nitrogen and phosphorus may slightly alter the forms and concentrations of nutrients in the final irrigation water. Also, a small fraction of the nutrients in reclaimed water may be in forms that plants are not able to use. While these caveats mean that the nutrient values seen here may be slightly different than what is actually applied via irrigation, the differences are likely small, and reclaimed water should still be used wisely with the understanding that it can contain appreciable levels of plant available nutrients.

     

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