Reminder – Don’t Fertilize Your Lawn Until October

Be Floridian This Summer: Skip The Nitrogen on Your Lawn: Pump Some Iron Instead

Sarasota County staff is reminding residents to “Be Floridian” and refrain from applying fertilizer containing nitrogen or phosphorus from June 1 to Sept. 30.

The County Code prohibits the use of these lawn or landscape fertilizers during the rainy season because summer rains don’t just water fertilizer in, they can also wash it away—right into our ponds, bays, rivers and the Gulf of Mexico. Fertilizer can cause algae blooms and fish kills, spoiling the beautiful waterways that are our major source of summer fun.

The good news is there are lots of ways to keep your lawn looking great while keeping algae-feeding nitrogen and phosphorus out of our waterways. Sarasota County’s University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension staff, has offered the following tips:

  • Pump some iron. Use “summer safe” yard products that contain iron or other micronutrients to “green up” your lawn from June through September. Look for fertilizers with “0” as the first two numbers on the label (as in 0-0-6). These do not contain either nitrogen or phosphorous.
  • Build Roots. Deep roots make strong grass. Water infrequently and deeply (3/4 – 1”), and set your mower at the highest setting for your type of grass.
  • Make Better Dirt. Mix in composted manure, or your own home compost, to enrich your soil. It’s like giving vitamins to your yard.
  • Pick better plants. Buy plants adapted to Florida’s hot, humid climate and plant them in the right place according to their sun and water needs. They’ll need less water, fertilizer and chemicals year-round, and you’ll have more time for fun.