County staff emphasizes importance of maintaining healthy waterways
Sarasota County staff is reminding members of the public to skip using nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer on their lawns and landscaping from June 1 through Sept. 30, as part of an effort to keep the community’s waterways healthy.
Enacted in 2007, the fertilizer restriction protects water quality and natural habitats in creeks, lakes and marine waters — which receive runoff from the stormwater system — by reducing the nutrients in stormwater, a news release explains.
Sarasota County Air and Water Quality Manager John Hickey notes in the release that the runoff of nutrients — primarily nitrogen and phosphorus — contributes to poor water quality. “Excessive or improper use of fertilizer in landscapes is a significant source of excess nutrients to local waterways,” the release adds. “This nutrient overload can result in algal blooms, poor water quality and other undesirable conditions.”
“We all like to take pride in the appearance of our property,” Hickey said in the release. “Through proper landscape maintenance techniques, we can keep our yards and waterways healthy. With everyone’s cooperation and participation, Sarasota County’s waterways can be protected for future generations,” Hickey added.
“Familiarizing yourself with the regulations is important if you are doing your own lawn care or hiring a trained lawn care professional,” the release says. The following tips will help to ensure Florida-friendly practices during the summer:
- Look for summer safe products with “0-0” as the first two numbers on the fertilizer label.
- Apply iron, manganese and magnesium to keep lawns green.
- Keep your grass a little taller than usual, as taller grass develops deeper roots and helps your lawn withstand heat and dry spells.
- Buy plants adapted to Florida’s hot and humid climate and plant them in places according to sun and water needs.
- Sweep or blow grass clippings back into the yard. Do not direct clippings into the road, stormwater system or water bodies.
To learn more about fertilizer restricted season, or for more tips on how to keep the county’s waterways healthy, call the county Contact Center at 941-861-5000, or visit www.scgov.net.