Natural Resources Management Department
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Brevard County Fertilizer Restrictions Take Effect June 1
BREVARD COUNTY, FL. — The deadline to apply fertilizer to lawns arrives Monday, June 1, with the rainy season.
Throughout Brevard County there is a ban on the application of fertilizer containing nitrogen or phosphorus from June 1 to September 30. These months are the rainy season when afternoon thundershowers can wash fertilizer off lawns into stormwater systems or groundwater that carries it to nearby lakes, streams, rivers or the Indian River Lagoon. When fertilizer reaches open waters, it can feed harmful and sometimes toxic algae blooms. Algae blooms make the water murky, block sunlight needed by seagrass and contribute to low oxygen and fish kills.
Outside of the rainy season, local fertilizer ordinances have other limitations to protect water quality year round. No phosphorus can be applied unless a soil test indicates a phosphorus deficiency. If a fertilizer contains nitrogen, at least half the nitrogen must be slow-release, which is better for the lawn and much less likely to get washed away by heavy rain or irrigation. Narrow buffers next to open waters must never receive fertilizer.
Every lawn in Florida, not just waterfront lawns, has the potential to pollute nearby waters. Protecting our waters from fertilizer pollution requires the cooperation of residents, fertilizer retailers and lawn maintenance professionals throughout Brevard County. Signs to remind customers of proper fertilizer use have been provided by the County to all stores that sell fertilizer. Customer service employees who want to provide accurate answers to questions from customers about proper fertilizer selection and use can watch an online County video posted at LagoonLoyal.com/training. State-mandated training is provided by the University of Florida Extension Services to all lawn care companies that apply fertilizer.
“People can have a green lawn without unintentionally polluting our waters by following a few simple tips. Choosing the right fertilizer and using it at the right time and the right way saves time and money by avoiding waste” said Virginia Barker, director of Brevard County’s Natural Resources Management Department. “The signs and training are to help our community have healthy lawns and clean waterways.”
To determine if a fertilizer contains nitrogen or phosphorus, simply look for the three numbers on the fertilizer label. If the first number is zero, the fertilizer contains no nitrogen. If the middle number is zero, the fertilizer contains no phosphorus. A fertilizer labeled 0-0-27 contains no nitrogen or phosphorus and may be used during the summer rainy season, except in buffer zones. When the rainy season is over, select fertilizer that contains at least 50 percent slow-release nitrogen.
A new County website LagoonLoyal.com is full of information and relatively simple actions residents can take to improve the health of the Indian River Lagoon. Local fertilizer ordinances are posted at http://brevard.ifas.ufl.edu/ordinances.shtml. For more information on how to select or apply fertilizer, contact a Brevard County UF/IFAS Extension Agent at (321) 633-1702.
Brevard County Board of County Commissioners
Phone: 321.633.2000 • www.brevardcounty.us