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Applications of fertilizer containing nitrogen and phosphorus prohibited

By Staff | Jun 11, 2009

As the rainy season approaches, the City of Sanibel would like to remind all citizens, landscape and pest control professionals that frequent and unpredictable summer downpours increase the opportunities for nutrient run-off to enter our local waters.

By not applying fertilizers containing nitrogen and phosphorus, you can be part of the City’s on-going effort to minimize local and regional nutrient pollution.

Beginning on Wednesday, July 1, fertilizers containing nitrogen and/or phosphorus may not be applied to lawns or landscape plants. Applications of these nutrients, where needed, may resume on Oct. 1 in accordance with the City’s fertilizer regulations adopted by City Council in 2007.

For lawns and landscape plants that may need summer nutrients beyond those available in the soil, consider the following:

Be Wise If You Fertilize! Prior to July 1, a fertilizer containing at least 50 percent Slow Release Nitrogen (SRN) may be applied at a rate not to exceed 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. As the name indicates, SRN is released slowly over time and will be available for uptake by plants all summer long.

Nitrogen is responsible for plant growth. To achieve a “green-up” without unwanted growth, a micronutrient fertilizer containing iron may be used.

When you mow, leave the grass clippings on your lawn. As the clippings break down, the nutrients will be recycled back to your lawn.

Most Sanibel soils have enough naturally occurring phosphorus to support healthy plants. Unless a soil test indicates otherwise, save money and choose “no phosphorus” products year-round.

Because of the potentially severe impacts to water quality resulting from the misapplication of fertilizer during the summer months, City Code Enforcement, Natural Resources, and Police staff are intensifying efforts to ensure compliance with the City’s fertilizer regulations. Staff will be conducting frequent island-wide patrols for violators, including both citizen “do-it-yourself” applicators and professionals.

For more information regarding appropriate fertilizer use on Sanibel, visit the City’s fertilizer Web site at http://www.sanibelh2omatters.com/fertilizer/ or contact the Natural Resources Department at 472-3700.

To report violations of the Sanibel Fertilizer Ordinance, contact the Sanibel Police Department at 472-3111.

Source: City of Sanibel