Water-Related News

Rainy season fertilizer restrictions now in effect

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Residents and landscapers are reminded that Pinellas County’s fertilizer ordinance prohibits the sale or application of fertilizers containing nitrogen and/or phosphorous between June 1 and Sept. 30. Phosphorous cannot be used at any time of the year unless a soil test confirms that it is needed.

The ordinance regulates landscape maintenance practices year-round and the sale and use of fertilizers containing nitrogen or phosphorous during the rainy season. Homeowners, landscapers and lawn care services must follow the practices described in the ordinance or face fines up to $10,000 per day. All landscapers who apply fertilizer in the county must display a Pinellas County-certified vehicle decal.

The nitrogen/phosphorous ban aims to prevent fertilizer runoff from entering storm drains and lakes, ponds, rivers, Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Excess nitrogen and phosphorous can cause harmful algae blooms that lower oxygen levels and lead to fish kills. Recent data shows that the ordinance is having a positive impact on the aquatic environment.

Pinellas County Environmental Management recommends the following Florida-friendly lawn care best practices to keep a healthy landscape during the summer:

  • Look for products with “0-0” as the first two numbers on the fertilizer label.
  • Apply iron to keep lawns green during the summer without increasing growth, as well as other environmentally friendly landscape products, available at your favorite lawn and garden store.
  • Use compost to enrich soil.
  • Set lawn mower blades between 3½ to 4 inches for St. Augustine turf to encourage deep roots that resist fungus and pests.
  • Buy plants adapted to Florida’s hot and humid climate and plant them in places that suit their sun and water needs.

Pinellas County is one of more than 90 Florida communities that have summertime fertilizer restrictions.

Landscapers and residents looking for more tips on skipping fertilizer can visit the Be Floridian website.