BREVARD COUNTY — The annual fertilizer restrictions are now in effect for Brevard County.
There is a ban on the application of fertilizer containing nitrogen or phosphorus from June 1 to September 30. This is the rainy season for the Space Coast and afternoon thundershowers can wash fertilizer off lawns into stormwater systems or groundwater that carries it to nearby lakes, streams, rivers or the Indian River Lagoon.
When fertilizer reaches open waters, it can feed harmful and sometimes toxic algae blooms. Algae blooms make the water murky, block sunlight needed by seagrass and contribute to low oxygen and fish kills.
If a fertilizer contains nitrogen, at least half the nitrogen must be slow-release, which is better for the lawn and much less likely to get washed away by heavy rain or irrigation.
No phosphorus can be applied unless a soil test indicates a phosphorus deficiency.
Narrow buffers next to open waters must never receive fertilizer.
To learn about proper fertilizer selection and use please watch an online County video posted at - LagoonLoyal.com/training.
“The signs and training are to help our community have healthy lawns and clean waterways,” said Brevard County’s Natural Resources Management Director Virginia Barker. “People can have a green lawn without unintentionally polluting our waters by following a few simple tips,”
Every lawn in Florida, not just waterfront lawns, has the potential to pollute nearby waters. To determine if a fertilizer contains nitrogen or phosphorus, simply look for the three numbers on the fertilizer label. If the first number is zero, the fertilizer contains no nitrogen. If the middle number is zero, the fertilizer contains no phosphorus. A fertilizer labeled 0-0-27 contains no nitrogen or phosphorus and may be used during the summer rainy season, except in buffer zones.
Local fertilizer ordinances are posted at - http://brevard.ifas.ufl.edu/ordinances.shtml.
When the rainy season is over, select fertilizer that contains at least 50 percent slow-release nitrogen.
The County website - LagoonLoyal.com, is full of information and relatively simple actions residents can take to improve the health of the Indian River Lagoon.
Protecting our waters from fertilizer pollution requires the cooperation of residents, fertilizer retailers and lawn maintenance professionals throughout Brevard County.
For more information on how to select or apply fertilizer, contact a Brevard County UF/IFAS Extension Agent at (321) 633-1702.