The Sarasota Journal

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Fertilizer restricted season returns Monday

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SARASOTA COUNTY – Not only does hurricane season begin Monday, but it’s that time of year when restrictions kick in on the use of fertilizer.

County officials remind residents in the unincorporated county to skip using nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers on lawns and landscapes from June 1 through Sept. 30 as part of an effort to keep the community’s waterways healthy.

In 2007, county commissioners enacted a fertilizer restriction ordinance to reduce the nutrients in stormwater and help protect natural habitats in area waterways that receive runoff from the stormwater system.

According to Sarasota County Air and Water Quality Supervisor John Morgan, the frequency and amount of rain experienced during the summer months causes fertilizer to be washed away before it can be absorbed into the landscape. The nutrients found in fertilizer, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus, add to what is already a nutrient-rich environment in our local water bodies. Excessive nutrients contribute to algae blooms, diminish water quality and threaten aquatic life.

“Using proper landscape maintenance techniques can help us maintain healthy waterways,””Morgan said, adding, “This is truly a community effort, one that impacts beaches, estuaries and more. By working together, we can protect this beautiful place we call home.”

Familiarizing yourself with the regulations is important if you are doing your own lawn care or hiring a trained lawn care professional. The following tips will help keep your yard looking great during the summer:

  • Use only fertilizers with zero nitrogen and zero phosphorous.
  • Apply iron, found at most garden centers, as an effective and environmentally friendly alternative to keep lawns green during the summer.
  • Use compost to enrich the soil.
  • Buy plants adapted to Florida’s hot and humid climate.
  • Mow higher to encourage deep roots that resist fungus and pests.
  • Make sure grass clippings are swept or blown back into the yard, or recycled in a compost pile. Do not allow grass clippings to be washed into storm drains.
  • If you’re using a lawn care service or contractor, take a few minutes to talk with them about these tips, along with fertilizer restricted season.
  • Adhere to watering restrictions; even-numbered addresses water only on Tuesday and odd-numbered addresses water only on Thursdays.
  • Remember irrigation is prohibited between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily.

To learn more about air and water quality  in Sarasota County, or for more tips on how to keep the county’s waterways healthy, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000 or visit

Warren Richardson
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