Goal is to protect the health of area waterways and the bay
Sarasota County staff is reminding members of the community 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.
Enacted in 2007, the county’s fertilizer restriction ordinance seeks to reduce the level of nutrients in stormwater “and helps to protect natural habitats in area waterways that receive runoff from our stormwater system,” a county news release explains.
Because of the frequency of storms and the amount of rain the county experiences during the summer months, fertilizer most likely will be washed away before it can be absorbed into the landscape, Sarasota County Air and Water Quality Supervisor John Morgan pointed out in the release.
“The nutrients found in fertilizer, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus, add to what is already a nutrient rich environment in our local water bodies,” the release says. “Excessive nutrients contribute to algae blooms, diminish water quality and threaten aquatic life,” the release explains.
“Using proper landscape maintenance techniques can help us maintain healthy waterways,” Morgan said in the release, 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 release continues. “The following tips will help keep your yard looking great during the summer,” it says:
- Use fertilizers only if they have 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 are using a lawn care service or contractor, take a few minutes to talk with the workers about these tips, along with the fertilizer-restricted season.
- Adhere to watering restrictions; people at even-numbered addresses may water only on Tuesdays; for those with odd-numbered addresses, watering is allowed only on Thursdays.
- Remember that irrigation is prohibited between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily; learn more about water restriction here.