CLEARWATER, Fla. — In the quest for the perfect lawn, people apply fertilizers and pesticides to their yards each year, priming their grasses for potentially serious ecological and human health consequences. These chemicals run off lawns into local springs, streams, lakes and rivers every time it rains, eventually washing in the Gulf of Mexico. The resulting process causes more than half of our water pollution, thus harming our waterways and the plants and animals that thrive in aquatic habitats.
Pinellas County’s fertilizer ordinance prohibits residents from fertilizing lawns during the rainy season. From June 1 to Sept. 30, fertilizers containing nitrogen and/or phosphorus cannot be applied to lawns or landscape plants. Fertilizers are not plant food. They sometimes can be used to supplement sugars that plants make through photosynthesis.
If you decide to use a fertilizer, use it properly. It’s easy:
– Make fertilizer selections based on need. Decide which nutrients will give you the result that you want for your lawn, and then buy only those.
– Use fertilizers sparingly to reduce nitrate levels. More is not necessarily better. Read and follow all instructions of the package.
– Do not fertilize when storm events are forecast. This will help reduce the level of nutrients washing into water systems during and after the storm.
– Select slow-release fertilizers. They are kinder to the environment and are usually more cost effective. Look for terms like “time-released,” “slow-release,” or “water insoluble nitrogen” on the fertilizer’s package.
– Remember to fertilize only when needed. Do not apply more than one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of grass.
Do your part to preserve our water, coastlines, and wildlife — the very things that help make Clearwater so wonderful. For more information about fertilizers or how to protect our waterways, visit myclearwater.com, watermatters.org or befloridian.com.
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City of Clearwater Web site – http://www.myclearwater.com