Nutrient impairment of water bodies and springs has become a major concern throughout the state of Florida. Excess nutrients change the ecological balance of a waterbody and cause water quality issues including persistent algae blooms. Fertilizer from urban landscapes can be a significant source of nutrient loading. Lake County’s current fertilizer ordinance is intended to help reduce loading from urban landscapes by implementing fertilizer application Best Management Practices known as Florida-Friendly.
On April 18, 2017, the Lake County Board of County Commissioners approved Ordinance 2017-17. This ordinance was enacted to comply with the Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act. This State Legislation required all jurisdictions which have a Springs Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) area within their boundaries to have the Model Ordinance for Florida-Friendly Fertilizer Use on Urban Landscapes or an equivalent adopted by July 1, 2017. Lake County is included within the Wekiva BMAP and the Silver Springs BMAP.
The Keep Lake Beautiful Committee reviewed and made recommendations to enhance the ordinance, and a revised ordinance was considered by the Board of County Commissioners on Nov. 7, 2017. A final hearing on the proposed revised ordinance was heard by the board during their regular meeting at 9 a.m. on Nov. 21, 2017.
General Additional Requirements of the revised fertilizer ordinance:
- Includes seasonal blackout of applying fertilizer containing nitrogen and phosphorus to turf between June 1 and September 30.
- Prohibits application of fertilizer within 15 feet of water bodies and recommends a voluntarily 15 foot low maintenance zone from any water body.
- Restricts application of fertilizer containing nitrogen to turf or landscaping plants during the period of October 1 through May 31 to contain no less than 50 percent slow release nitrogen content.
- The enforcement, including penalties or fines, will begin one year from the effective date of the ordinance.
Fertilizer Ordinance Facts
- 34 Florida counties have adopted a fertilizer ordinance
- Neighboring counties that have adopted a fertilizer ordinance include Marion, Orange, Volusia and Seminole
- 44% of counties with a fertilizer ordinance have a slow release requirement
- 50 municipalities statewide have adopted a fertilizer ordinance
- For more information, check out the Lake County's Fertilizer Ordinance FAQ's.
For additional information regarding the Florida-Friendly Yards Program contact your Lake County UF / IFAS Extension office at 352-343-4101 or visit https://afcd.us/ or contact Lake County's Stormwater Program Manager, Nick Mcray, at 352-253-9080.