Water-Related News

Rainy season fertilizer restrictions are now in effect in Pinellas County

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Pinellas County’s rainy season fertilizer restrictions took effect June 1, and will last through Sept. 30.

The County’s Fertilizer Ordinance prohibits the sale or application of lawn and landscape fertilizers containing nitrogen and/or phosphorus during that timeframe. Phosphorus cannot be used at any time of the year unless a soil test confirms it is needed. Also, fertilizer can never be applied within 10 feet of the top of a slope leading to a seawall, wetland, or waterbody.

The County regulates landscape maintenance practices all year, both for property owners who take care of their own lawns and for professionals. Landscapers and fertilizer applicators who provide services within the county are required to display a Pinellas County-certification vehicle decal and carry a wallet card.

The intent of the restrictions is to prevent fertilizer runoff and yard waste from harming lakes, ponds, rivers, Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico and from leaching into groundwater. Excess nitrogen and phosphorus can cause harmful algae blooms that lower oxygen levels and lead to fish kills. Water quality testing by Pinellas County Environmental Management has shown significant reductions in total nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients in our waterbodies since the ordinance took effect.

Pinellas County recommends using summer-safe lawn care products and landscaping best management practices to keep a healthy landscape during the summer:

  • Look for products with “0-0” as the first two numbers on the fertilizer label.
  • Apply iron to keep lawns green during the summer without increasing growth.
  • Use compost to enrich soil.
  • Set lawn mower blade heights between 3½ to 4 inches for St. Augustine and Bahia turf to encourage deep roots that resist drought, fungus and pests.
  • Water no more than ½”-¾” of irrigation twice a week and follow watering restrictions.
  • Ensure an irrigation rain shutoff device is installed and working properly. Shut off irrigation system when rainfall is sufficient.
  • Buy plants adapted to Florida’s hot and humid climate and plant them in places that suit their sun and water needs.
  • More information can be found here.

Pinellas County is one of more than 90 Florida communities that have summertime fertilizer restrictions.