President’s Corner – June 2022 – Fertilizer Ban
It’s that time of year again! No, not summer, but the restricted application period for fertilizers! Although it’s not a glamourous topic, it is an important issue to be familiar with and abide by the regulations in place for the sake of our health and environment. Some regulations are year round; for example you can never add fertilizer within 15 feet of a body of water, as it is more likely to lead to runoff. However, from June 1st – September 30th there are a few more restrictions when it comes to fertilizing your lawn and landscape. Here is what you need to know:
Why they are banned
June 1st – September 30th is the wet time of the year for Floridians, meaning excess debris and too many nutrients are washed into runoff drains which lead into the Indian River/ Indian River Lagoon. Explicitly banned fertilizers during this period are any that contain nitrogen and/or phosphorus. Nitrogen and phosphorus, although not inherently bad for the environment, contribute to algae blooms, especially during warmer/rainy months. Florida natives are all too familiar with these algae blooms, specifically the periods of red, brown, or blue-green tide. These algae blooms can be very dangerous for the ecosystem as well as humans. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, algae blooms are responsible for blocking sunlight from reaching seagrass which many marine animals feed from, thus affecting the entire marine ecosystem. This can lead to low levels of dissolved oxygen needed to support marine animals.
Suggestions – types to use
A helpful tip when looking for an approved fertilizer during the ban period is to look at the numbers listed on a fertilizer bag. The first two numbers listed are the percentage of nitrogen and then phosphorus, so as long as both say zero percent they are good to use (the third number is potassium which is not included in the ban). Most organic fertilizers do not contain nitrogen and phosphorus, however to be sure, make sure to check for the three sequential numbers on the bag. Remember, you should never use fertilizer regardless of nutrient content within 15 feet of a body of water!
“Environment is no one’s property to destroy; it’s everyone’s responsibility to protect.” – Mohith Agadi
For The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration article on nutrient pollution: https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/nutpollution.html#:~:text=Nutrient%20pollution%20is%20the%20process,and%20garden%20fertilizers%20are%20used
For the full fertilizer ordinance follow this link: https://www.cvcaviera.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Brevard-Fertilizer-Ordinance.pdf
For more fertilizing/ landscape information check out The Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Handbook: https://ffl.ifas.ufl.edu/media/fflifasufledu/docs/FYN_Handbook_2015_web.pdf