Take the summer off – from fertilizing, that is. Volusia County’s summertime fertilizer ban begins June 1 and continues through Sept. 30. During this time, residents and lawn care companies may not apply nitrogen or phosphorus to lawns and landscape plants.
Volusia County’s fertilizer ordinance includes these provisions:
- The application of fertilizers containing phosphorus is prohibited at all times unless a soil or plant-tissue deficiency is verified.
- The application of fertilizers containing nitrogen is prohibited from June 1 through Sept. 30 of each year.
- Fertilizer containing nitrogen may be applied only between Oct. 1 and May 31 and must contain at least 50 percent slow-release nitrogen.
- Fertilizer may not be applied within 15 feet of water bodies.
The ordinance applies to all homes and businesses, except in Deltona, which has its own fertilizer ordinance. Homeowners should check with their lawn care companies to make sure they are following the ordinance. Gardens and the application of compost are exempt.
Excess nutrients from fertilizer runoff can cause algae blooms and fish kills in waterways, which can result in fish kills and seagrass die-off, spoiling recreational opportunities and the natural habitats and wildlife.
The Volusia County Council passed the fertilizer ordinance in 2014 to protect the county’s springs and surface waters, particularly the Indian River Lagoon, where algae blooms and animal deaths have raised concerns in recent years.
Volusia County’s Environmental Management Division recommends these Florida-friendly lawn care practices during the summer:
- Pump some iron. Use Florida-friendly yard products that contain iron or other micronutrients to green up your lawn.
- Get better dirt. Give your garden a boost by adding compost. Try organic soil amendments such as leaves, mulch and compost.
- Pick better plants. Native and Florida-friendly plants require less fertilizer, water and overall care.
- Keep the clippings. Leave grass clippings on the lawn. They can supply up to 50 percent of the nitrogen your grass needs.
Local garden centers offer a variety of summer-safe yard products to help keep landscapes green and growing throughout the summer. Look for fertilizers that start with two zeros (such as 0-0-6) on the label; these do not contain nitrogen or phosphorus.
For more information about fertilizing like a Floridian and Florida-friendly lawn care practices, visit www.befloridiannow.org.
For information about fertilizer use and soil testing, call the University of Florida/Volusia County Extension at 386-822-5778 or visit www.volusia.org/fertilizer.