Fertilizer ordinance takes effect through February

Fertilizer distributer

Alachua County’s landscape fertilizer ordinances went into effect on Friday, July 1, and will run through February.

The regulations prohibit using fertilizers with nitrogen during this period and require fertilizer containing nitrogen to contain no less than 50 percent slow-release nitrogen.

According to an Alachua County release, new regulations will also prohibit phosphorus unless a deficiency is verified.

For people unfamiliar with the contents of a fertilizer bag, the first number represents nitrogen, the second is phosphorus and the third number is potassium. This means that the middle number – phosphorus – must be a zero unless the person conducts a soil or tissue test to determine if phosphorus is needed.  

The Alachua County Environmental Protection staff are distributing signage to all stores that sell fertilizer that display the county rules. 

The Alachua County ordinance also includes the following standards:

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  • Fertilizers containing nitrogen and/or phosphorus may not be applied when soils are saturated with water, before heavy rain, or for the first 30 days after seeding or sodding. 
  • Fertilizers spilled on impervious surfaces 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 three feet is required).
  • Grass clippings must be removed from streets, sidewalks, and driveways immediately.
  • 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 Alachua County Environmental Protection Department Water Resources Program Manager Stacie Greco. “In a recent survey of more than 1,000 residents, 55% said they don’t use fertilizer at all. If you want to commit to joining the 55%, go to the water resources website to sign the pledge, and we will send you a bumper sticker to show your support of our water quality.”

To request signage or to report the absence of signage, contact Stacie Greco at 352-264-6829 or Sgreco@alachuacounty.us.

For more information, visit the My Yard Our Water website.

Courtesy Alachua County

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