Florida Yards &
FYN Principle #3 -
does apply to homeowners spreading fertilizer.
Florida’s typically sandy, nutrient-poor soil sometimes makes it necessary to
add fertilizer to maximize plant health. If you are using fertilizer,
follow these tips to stay within the guidelines of the ordinance, to save you
time and money while protecting the health of Florida’s environment:
All fertilizers containing nitrogen should be at
least 50% slow release nitrogen. Click the fertilizer label to see an example.
All fertilizer and grass clippings should be
swept off impervious surfaces, to prevent excess nutrient runoff.
Phosphorous found in fertilizer may not be
applied in excess of 0.25 pounds per 1,000 square feet per application, or 0.5
pounds per 1,000 square feet per year.
Maintain a mandatory fertilizer-free zone within
10 feet of any water body or wetland (or 3 feet if a deflector shield is used).
Deflector shields are key to making sure fertilizer only ends up on your lawn!
If you use a landscape company for fertilizer
application, make sure they are certified through the Green Industries Best
Management Practices (BMP’s). They will have a logo decal in the
window of the company truck (shown to the right). Feel free to contact our office at 764-4340
for a list of BMP-certified landscape professionals.
Have your soil tested; many Florida soils are
high in Phosphorus and therefore do not require any more from fertilizer.
To have your soil tested, print out the following form:
instructions for taking samples and mail samples in a plastic bag to the
University of Florida Soil Testing Laboratory.
Only use the amount of fertilizer specified on
the package; more is not better. Over-fertilizing will result in more
pruning and mowing for you, and make your plant more susceptible to disease and
pests because of its fast, weak growth.
Consider using native plants that have adapted to
our soils (or suitable exotic plants) that do not require supplemental
fertilization. A 6-foot low maintenance plant zone is recommended adjacent to
any water body or wetland. This zone will allow excess nutrients and
pollutants to be absorbed and filtered by plants, rather than running into the
Use compost to add nutrients, improve soil
structure, texture and aeration, and increase the soil’s water holding capacity.