Alachua County announces landscape fertilizer ban in effect

Alachua County fertilizer
Courtesy Alachua County

Alachua County recently announced its annual regulation that prohibits using landscape fertilizers with phosphorus or nitrogen from July through February.

In a press release on Monday, the county sent the reminder and added that signage about the fertilizer rules is displayed at all stores selling fertilizer. Alachua County Environmental Protection staff are also distributing signage.

The exception to the rule involves fruit trees and vegetable gardens, which are exempt from the limitations.

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The regulations are in place to protect the county’s water resources from fertilizer pollution during Florida’s rainy season and in the winter months when landscape fertilizer can be washed away instead of absorbed by plants.

The ordinance also includes the following standards:

  • Fertilizers containing nitrogen and/or phosphorus may not be applied when soils are saturated with water, before a heavy rain or for the first 30 days after seeding or sodding
  • Fertilizers with nitrogen must contain no less than 50% slow-release nitrogen (and can only be used from March to June).
  • Fertilizers spilled on roads and sidewalks must be removed immediately and may not be blown or washed into stormwater systems or water bodies.
  • Fertilizers shall not be applied within a minimum of ten feet from any waterbody unless a deflector shield is used (then a minimum distance of 3 feet is required).
  • Fertilizers must be stored in areas protected from rainfall and stormwater runoff.
  • All commercial and institutional applicators shall successfully complete the Florida Friendly Best Management Practices for Water Resources by the Green Industries training and carry evidence that they are an FDACS Commercial Fertilizer Applicator.
  • “Fertilizers are a source of pollution to our surface waters, groundwater, and springs, so we want to ensure that citizens are aware of the fertilizer ban,” said Stacie Greco, the water resources program manager for Alachua County’s Environmental Protection Department, in the release. “In a recent survey, the percentage of residents reporting they don’t use fertilizers at all has increased from 55% to 68%.”

Learn more about the landscape fertilizer ban.

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