An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: USF Water Institute

Water-Related News

Summer fertilizer bans in effect

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The partners of the Be Floridian fertilizer education campaign remind residents of Manatee, Sarasota and Pinellas counties and the city of Tampa that they can't apply nitrogen or phosphorous to lawn and landscape plants from June 1-September 30.

Garden centers throughout these communities offer a variety of "summer-safe" yard products that will help keep your landscape healthy throughout our long, rainy summer. 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.

Summer rains don't water fertilizer in, they wash it away -- right into our ponds, rivers, Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Too much fertilizer can cause algae blooms and fish kills, spoiling the beautiful waterways that are our major source of recreation. Follow these Florida-friendly lawn care practices to "protect our fun" this summer:

  • Pump some iron. An application of iron, readily available at most garden centers, will keep your lawn green without excessive growth. Who wants to mow every week anyway?
  • Micro-size It! Apply micronutrients such as zinc and manganese to keep your grass healthy.
  • Get Better Dirt. Mix in composted cow or chicken 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. Visit or for ideas.
  • Leave grass clippings on lawn! They are free fertilizer and can supply about 25% of the nitrogen your grass needs throughout the year.

See how homeowners throughout the region have reduced water, fertilizer and pesticides in the Be Floridian Florida Yard photo gallery!