Research Program in Urban and Agricultural Fertilization and Nutrient Management Practices

My research program addresses environmental science questions pertaining to water quality and nutrient and water management in urban and agricultural settings. Florida has many challenges maintaining high water quality and adequate supply of water. Increased demand for water in urban and agricultural areas for crop and landscape irrigation has led to needs for research on alternative water sources, for more efficient irrigation technologies, and for improved water management practices. Likewise, fertilizer nutrients for agricultural crops and landscapes must be used carefully to avoid any potential losses to the environment. Water and nutrients must be carefully managed together to prevent environmental problems. My research addresses nutrient management questions, especially nitrogen and phosphorus. Some typical questions being addressed include:

  • What are the sources (nutrient budget) of nutrients that are found in groundwater and surface water in agricultural and urban settings?

  • How do irrigation and fertilization management practices work together to prevent nitrogen losses from fields and landscapes?

  • What are the best management practices for keeping nutrients and water in the plant root zone?

  • Can we develop new tools (plant and soil testing meters, application devices, computer programs, etc. to help individuals improve their nutrient and water management capabilities?

  • Are there cultivars of crop and landscape plants that are more efficient in nutrient uptake and utilization?

  • What roles do crop selection, rotation, cover-cropping, mulching, irrigation, and fertilization, play in a systems approach, to minimize nutrient losses to the environment?

  • What role may organic nutrient sources play in fertilization and what are the best management practices?

We carry out research in the most appropriate location, facility, and lab. We use greenhouses for small, bench-scale studies. We conduct field-scale studies in residential landscapes and on farms. We use special techniques, such as hydroponics, to study nutrient uptake and utilization.