Tuesday, May 10, 2016

New Environment Publications, April 2016

April’s Environment #EDISPubs offerings include

·         Environment: Consumer perceptions of lawn & garden products (neonic-free plants, lawn fertilizers), and how people want to learn about agricultural water use

·         Ecosystems & Species: biology and management of hydrilla, and how best to keep deer from eating up food plots before they’re established



Consumer Perceptions of Lawn Fertilizer Brands

Widespread urbanization in the United States has increased the number of lawns. A healthy lawn provides many benefits, including urban heat dissipation, water quality protection, erosion control, carbon sequestration, community safety, aesthetics, and property value growth. Many homeowners maintain their healthy lawns by applying fertilizers throughout the growing season, but excess fertilizer runoff and leaching have received much attention recently because of waterway pollution and algae blooms, leading many states to place restrictions on what chemicals can be used in lawn fertilizers.

Consumers’ increased environmental awareness creates a niche opportunity for the fertilizer industry to promote environmentally friendly lawn fertilizers, but in order to effectively exploit it, industry stakeholders must understand consumer purchasing behavior before expending labor, time, and money creating products for sale. The following 3-page report written by Hayk Khachatryan, Alicia Rihn, and Michael Dukes and published by the Food and Resource Economics Department covers research methodology and the existing brand awareness and selection of consumers in the lawn fertilizer industry. It also discusses homeowners’ preferences for certain fertilizer attributes. Consumer awareness, selection, and attribute preferences indicate existing behavior, and understanding existing behavior assists in the development of effective marketing programs, promotional strategies, and policies.

Consumers' Response to "Neonic-Free" and Other Insect Pollinator Promotions on Ornamental Plants

Pollinator insects are essential to world food crop production, the economy, and the environment. Neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides are facing intense backlash from environmental groups because the systemic protection they provide throughout the plant, including the pollen and nectar, may be injuring pollinator insects and causing their population decline. But many nursery and greenhouse growers use neonic-based pesticide control measures because they are effective, inexpensive, and cause less environmental damage than other insecticides. The increased publicity may influence consumer demand and preferences but very few studies have investigated consumer responses to neonic-free labels, and evidence suggests that many consumers have little knowledge or awareness of the issue. This 3-page fact sheet describes the results of a study investigating how consumers’ awareness of neonic insecticides influenced their preferences and purchasing behavior for plants and exploring the marketing potential of using alternate pollinator promotions (besides neonic-free) in garden center retail outlets. Written by Hayk Khachatryan and published by the Food and Resource Economics Department.

How the General Public and Local Officials Prefer to Learn about Agricultural Water Use in Florida

Water is a precious resource that is invaluable to the state of Florida. The amount of water being used daily in the state is estimated at 14.3 million gallons. Part of a series dedicated to describing the preferred ways of learning about agricultural water use in Florida, this study can be used to assist Extension educators and the agricultural industry at large in the development of strategies meant to inform people about the realities of water use. This three-page fact sheet helps Extension educators understand preferred learning mediums so they can provide useful information about agricultural water use. Written by Courtney T. Owens, Alexa J. Lamm, and Ricky W. Telg and published by the Agricultural Education and Communication Department.

Ecosystems and Species

New and Revised Featured Creatures

Hydrilla: Florida's Worst Submersed Weed

Hydrilla, which was originally introduced to the state as an aquarium plant, was intentionally planted in canals by aquarium plant dealers in the 1950s and quickly escaped cultivation. In addition to being one of the world’s worst aquatic weeds, the species is Florida’s most intensively managed submersed plant. Hydrilla is a federally listed noxious weed and a prohibited aquatic plant in Florida, making cultivation, sale, and possession of the species illegal. This 7-page fact sheet discusses the classification, characteristics, habitat, and management of hydrilla. Written by Lyn A. Gettys and Stephen F. Enloe, and published by the UF Agronomy Department, February 2016.

Temporary Food Plot Deterrents for Deer: Do They Work?

Many Floridians enjoy the opportunity to hunt, watch, or photograph white-tailed deer. Hunters and landowners often plant cool season forage plots both to attract wildlife and to provide a dependable food source. But where there is a high deer population or scarce food resources, deer may forage on food plots as soon as the plants emerge and before they become established. This fact sheet presents the results of research conducted at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy into the effectiveness of various strategies hunters and landowners can use to temporarily limit access to new food plots until the plants are well established and strong enough to attract and sustain hungry deer through the winter. Written by Holly Ober, Cheryl Mackowiak, and Ann Blount and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation.




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UF/IFAS Communications




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