Longboat Key's rules apply from June 1 through Sept. 30.
Longboat Key’s rainy season restrictions on fertilizer use are now in effect, through Sept. 30, the town said.
Beginning on June 1, the application of fertilizer containing nitrogen and/or phosphorus is prohibited. Florida receives a majority of its rain in the late spring through early fall. Runoff from that rain has been connected to increased nutrient load in Sarasota Bay and surrounding waters, which can lead to algal blooms and reduced water clarity.
During the rest of the year, 50% slow release fertilizers are required to minimize runoff effects on the surrounding waters.
Additionally, everyone other than homeowners applying fertilizer on their own properties, must complete and abide by an approved best-management practices training program.
Longboat Key is one of 90 Florida communities with such seasonal restrictions. Manatee and Sarasota counties also maintain season restrictions in unincorporated areas.
Here are some fertilizer-use tips from the town:
From June 1-Sept. 30
- No use of nitrogen and/or phosphorus (the first and second numbers on a fertilizer label).
- Iron is a good alternative for lawn greening
- Add compost in lieu of fertilizer
- Consider Florida-native plants that require less fertilizer, water, pest control and other care.
- Keep the grass clippings on the lawn instead of letting them blow into waterways or storm sewers. Mow with a higher blade setting to ensure the health of the grass in the hot sun.
From Oct. 1-May 31
- Continue summer-level awareness of runoff. Heavy rains following an application of fertilizer can wash it away, not soak it in.
- Keep fertilizers at least 10 feet from waterways.
- Use a spreader that is equipped with a shield or edge guard to keep control of application.
- Don’t simply fertilize without knowing the lawn’s problems. It might be related to a pH balance or an insect infestation.