Florida Department of Environmental Protection Proves St Augustine Lawns are Good for the Environment


By Rick Orr 07/06/2011
APL Pest Control Posting Sign in a St Augustine Lawn
St Augustine grass is a filter plant - a biological filter around your home

Florida Department of Environmental Protection 

A recent study by funded by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) proves St Augustine lawns do not pollute.This is good news to lawn owners for two reasons:

1 - The study proves that a St Augustine grass lawn is best ground cover for urban environments to reduce pollutants in our water bodies and,

2 - Eliminates Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) reasons for reducing water and fertilizers usage on St Augustine Lawns because state funded research clearly shows that lawns are good for the urban environment.

Summary of Research

The study was conducted over four years at various sites and under multiple fertilization and irrigation regimes. Notable results are:

  • Pollution (Nitrate leeching) was insignificant in St Augustine grass lawns
  • Pollution (Nitrate leeching) during summer raining seasons did not significantly increase with applied fertilizers
  • There was no difference between slow release and water soluble nitrogen sources
  • Healthy St Augustine grass – well watered, mowed properly and insect free – was the perfect ground cover for the urban environment

Other Thoughts on SWFWMD’s Actions

I was appalled at the arrogance of SWFWMD discounting previous research on this issue because it was paid for by the turf industry. Then ignoring that research, as well as the warnings from researchers at University of Florida, SWFWMD mandated watering and fertilizer restrictions for Pinellas County. Now research funded by FDEP clearly shows these actions served no greater good for our environment and therefore were unnecessary and burdensome on the public. And why? Because 5 million pounds of soil produce 1 pound of nitrates – which is so insignificant it is barely measurable much less an impact on our environment. Yet it cost homeowners thousands of dollars to repair and replace lawns destroyed by these ordinances.


According to the study, SWFWMD was wrong to set restrictions on watering and fertilizations of St Augustine lawns. Research clearly demonstrates that a healthy St Augustine lawn – a lawn that is well watered, fertilized, mowed properly and insect free – is best for our urban environment.

Rick Orr Owner-Operator APL Pest Control/Creator of ILOVETURF.COM
APL Pest Control

Rick Orr is the creator of Iloveturf.com, Owner/Operator of APL Pest Control and a graduate from VA Tech in Agronomy (Turf Ecology).  

Since 1980, Rick worked in the green industry, mostly with golf courses, resorts and large communities. Rick worked as a Golf Course Superintendent of Fripp Island Resort, agronomist for Seaside, FL and the spray tech for Vinoy Golf Course. Rick has been certified as an arborist, landscape and irrigation contractor and adjunct professor for Environmental Horticulture (SPC) in Pinellas County.  

Home Pest Control came naturally. Entomology (bug science) was part of agronomy studies. Nearly every indoor pest problem starts outdoors. Crossing over to home pest control from lawn spraying was a natural process – the technology, methods and materials used for home pest control are modifications of the ones used for lawn spraying. 

The results of that work is a one of the top rated pest control companies in Pinellas County – APL Pest Control. APL Pest Control is a family owned business serving residential and commercial properties in Pinellas County, FL. 

Free Price Quote for Home Pest Control and/or Lawn Spraying CLICK HERE

To learn more about APL Pest Control CLICK HERE

Speaking Engagements - Does it seem like you are only hearing one side of water restrictions, fertilizer bans, plant restrictions, and many other urban landscape hot topics? Rick Orr is available for speaking engagements for your HOA, Community or Professional Association or Garden Club about a variety of subjects. To contact Rick you can find him on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram for booking information.