Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Agricultural and Extension Education and Evaluation

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

Nutrient runoff of nitrogen and phosphorus from improper lawn and landscape fertilization practices contributes to water quality issues within the Mississippi River drainage basin and the Northern Gulf of Mexico (NRC, 2009a; Robbins & Birkenholtz, 2003). The implementation of fertilizer best management practices has become a critical strategy for reducing nutrient runoff (Carey et al., 2012a; Carey et al., 2013; U.S. EPA, 2005). The purpose of this study was to determine if relationships exist among selected perceptual measures regarding home lawn and landscape fertilizer management practices among Louisiana urban and suburban homeowners. Ajzen’s (1991) Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) was the theoretical framework used to study Louisiana homeowners’ fertilizer management practices. An online semantic differential questionnaire assessed homeowners’ TPB perceptual measures regarding 12 fertilizer management practices identified through pilot research. The homeowners of this study reported seldom past performance of the recommended Soil testing practice. The results further indicated that homeowners’ intention to perform the Soil testing practice was the strongest determinant of past behavior, and perceived norm was the strongest determinant of intention to perform the practice. Homeowners further reported that they may intend to perform the improper Watering in lawn fertilizer, rain event practice, and homeowners’ perceived control was the strongest determinant of intention to perform the practice. Lastly, homeowners reported that they slightly believed that if fertilizer was applied to areas other than the lawn and landscape that it would result in runoff that contributes to environmental issues in water. The researcher concluded that the Soil testing practice was infrequently performed by the participants of this study. The researcher further concluded that homeowners may intend to use a rain event to water in lawn fertilizer as they think it is a beneficial practice that they can control, and that homeowners’ only slightly believed that fertilizer runoff would result from the Runoff from fertilizer spills practice. To change homeowners’ fertilizer management practices the researcher recommended that the strongest determinants of behavior and the underlying behavioral beliefs identified in this study be targeted in behavioral intervention programming designed by the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service.

Date

8-12-2018

Committee Chair

Burnett, Michael

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