Summer fertilizer restrictions begin June 1
From June 1 through Sept. 30, as part of fertilizer restricted season, local residents may not apply fertilizers containing nitrogen or phosphorus to lawns and landscape plants.
Fertilizer restrictions apply to all residential and commercial properties, including landscapes maintained by lawn care professionals. These laws prevent fertilizer runoff from frequent summer rains from washing down storm drains and into our rivers, lakes, bays and the Gulf of Mexico. The summer nitrogen ban runs through September 30, typically the end of our rainy season.
Phosphorous is prohibited year-round as Florida soils are naturally abundant in phosphorous.
At garden centers, look for “summer-safe” products with 0-0 as the first two numbers on the fertilizer label.
Follow these Florida-friendly lawn care practices to maintain an attractive and healthy landscape over the summer:
- Pump some iron. An application of iron, readily available at most garden centers, will keep your lawn green during the summer without causing it to grow more (so you have to mow more!).
- Get Better Dirt. Mix in composted cow or chicken manure, or your own home compost, to enrich your soil. It’s like giving vitamins to your yard.
- Mow high. Set your lawn mower blade to 3.5- 4 inches high for standard St. Augustine grass to encourage strong, deep roots that resist fungus and pests.
- Pick better plants. Buy plants adapted to Florida’s hot, humid climate and plant them in the right place according to their sun and water needs. They’ll need less water, fertilizer and chemicals year-round, and you’ll have more time for bicycling, boating, grilling or just relaxing by the pool.
- Look for the BMP decal. All lawn care professionals that apply fertilizer must vet certified and display a Best Management Practices decal on their company vehicle.
- Let only rain down your storm drain. Sweep or blow grass clippings that get on sidewalks, driveways, streets, etc. back onto your yard.