University of Florida

Effect of Nitrogen on Water Quality

Nitrogen is a part of many fertilizers and is important for plant nutrition. But if fertilizers are misused, irrigation water or rain can carry excess nitrogen away from the landscape, and potentially into nearby water bodies.

Too much nitrogen in lakes and streams can cause an overgrowth of algae and other plants. Over time, the plants will deplete the oxygen levels in the water, which can trigger fish kills. Excess nitrates can also leach through the soil, and may ultimately end up in our ground water.

By fertilizing responsibly, you can help protect Florida's water quality for future generations. Fertilize only when your plants are actively growing, and always follow University of Florida guidelines for when and how much to fertilize.


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