SARASOTA COUNTY – Sarasota County reminds 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.
The ordinance, which was enacted in 2007, reduces the nutrients in stormwater and helps to protect natural habitats in creeks, lakes and marine waters that receive runoff from our stormwater system.
According to Sarasota County Air and Water Quality Manager John Hickey, landscapes during the rainy season do not have enough time to absorb the nutrients in fertilizer and are washed away. Nutrient runoff can cause harmful algal blooms that block sunlight from reaching underwater grasses, rob the water of oxygen and threaten aquatic life. “While you may think that your own yard may play an inconsequential part in the overall effects of nutrient pollution, it is important to remember that collectively, all of the yards add up. Through proper landscape maintenance techniques, and with everyone’s cooperation, we can keep our yards and waterways healthy,” 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 following tips will help keep your yard looking great during the summer:
- Look for products with “0-0” as the first two numbers on the fertilizer label.
- 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.
- Hire lawn care professionals that display Best Management Practices fertilizer decals on their vehicles.
- Buy plants adapted to Florida’s hot and humid climate, and plant them in the appropriate places.
- Mow higher to encourage deep roots that resist fungus and pests.
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 Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000 or visit www.scgov.net.