Bonita Springs— With Florida summer, typically comes rain. That is the reason that from June 1 to Sept. 30, fertilizers with nitrogen and phosphorus are prohibited.
“Our city ordinance (and every other city in SWFL and Lee County) does not allow use of phosphorus and nitrogen from June to September because it ends up washing away and causing nutrient pollution,” said Bonita Springs Councilwoman Martha Simons.
“We are now mandated to clean up our waters for nutrient pollution which has been linked to red tide outbreaks and red algae blooms. Taxpayers would benefit thru prevention rather than having to pay for expensive storm water solutions.”
When Bonita Springs was developed, storm water runoff wasn’t a consideration.
Stormwater control and its affect on water quality wasn’t a concern until the 1970s.
“Some may view the advent of such requirements as burdensome, but they are important to maintain the quality of life Bonitians expect and enjoy,”
Simons said. In order to address the high costs of cleaning up our waters, more than 60 cities in Florida have preferred to enact ordinances that hope to prevent pollution in the first place but it will take everyone from the resident to the professional landscaper to do their part to Fertilize Wise.”
Simons has been defending municipal fertilizer ordinances before the state legislature for the past five years. This work played a large part in her winning the Home Rule Hero Award in June. Home Rule Hero Award recipients are elected, or non-elected, officials who consistently reach out to members of the Legislature to help give a local perspective to an issue. In this case, the issue was municipal fertilizer ordinances.
Simons agrees with lawn experts and researchers from the University of Florida that fertilizer is not necessary to have a green lawn in the summer.
“Iron can be used to correct soil deficiencies and is considered a viable organic alternative to heavy synthetic nitrogen,” Simons said. “Rain has a lot of nitrogen so this type of fertilizer is not needed during this period. Our soil in SWFL has adequate phosphorus to get thru the rainy season.”
When rainy season is over, The University of Florida IFAS Yards and Neighborhoods recommends slow release fertilizers.
Fertilizer Dos and Do Nots
What Not to Do:
Don’t Use Nitrogen and Phosphorus Fertilizer
Between June 1 and September 30.
What To Do:
• Choose slow-release products betweenOctober and May
• Keep fertilizer off hard surfaces.
• If you spill fertilizer on the lawn, collect whatever you can.
•Never fertilize within 10 feet of any waterbody.
•Don’t fertilize before a heavy rain.
• Know your water source.
• Apply fertilizer only when grass is actively growing.
•Use a broadcast spreader with a deflector shield.
• Avoid using “weed and feed” products.
• Apply an iron source instead of a nitrogen fertilizer [during the summer].
*Source: Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Handbook, 2009
More information about Fertilize Wise and City Ordinance No. 08-23 is available at www.cityofbonitasprings.org
Category: News & Features