Pinellas Fertilizer Ordinance

amberroses(10a)May 31, 2011

Pinellas County has a fertilizer ordinance to protect the watershed. I've been seeing all the notices posted in the big box stores for a while. When I read the actual ordinance I see it is a lot more restrictive than I believed. It seems to say:

From June -Sept 30

1. No fertilizer of any kind with any N or P may be applied to lawn or landscape plants June -Sept 30.

2. Does not apply to veggie gardens.

3. Compost, Mg, iron, etc.. can be used, but I didn't see any exemption for slow release Osmocote type products. Organic type fertilizer may be ok if it is considered primarily organic in nature and is applied to improve the physical condition of the soil

4. Doesn't apply to container plants.

Rest of the year

1. No fertilizer containing P can be applied ever without a test showing your soil is low in P. You have to mail a copy of the results to Pinellas County.

2.Granular fertilizers containing nitrogen applied to turf and/or landscape plants within Pinellas County must have at least 50 percent slow release nitrogen.

3. Same exemption for veggie gardens, Mg, iron, etc...

I support the idea of fertilizer regulations, but it looks like this ordinance should be redrafted. My "landscape plants" need fertilizer. I guess I will have to plant some veggies next to my roses and turn it into a veggie garden. At least let us have some osmocote or dynamite for our plants!

Here is a link that might be useful: ordinance

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carolb_w_fl(zone 9/10)

I'm sure there will be scofflaws, but hopefully these new rules will lessen the runoff problem.

I think we can safely use compost on our landscape plants w/o any worries about the fertilizer cops coming after us. Another great amendment/fertilizer is rabbit food - a.k.a. alfalfa pellets. Simply sprinkle them around @ water to make them break down. AFAIK, neither is a threat to the waterways & both cost much less than regular 'fertilizers' & unlike conventional fertilizers, actually improve soil.

For extra N, I use Black Hen poultry manure, & for P I use bonemeal, cornmeal &/or milk - I don't believe any of those are problematic.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 9:04AM
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carolb_w_fl-The things you mentioned would be ok since they are all organic and used to change the physical condition of the soil. I am not sure the usual bone meal and blood meal commercial organic fertilizers would be acceptable since they aren't bulky and don't change the physical condition of the soil.

Well, I guess I am mostly concerned about my roses. They are heavy feeders and I like to use synthetic and organic products on them.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 10:25AM
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amberroses, I don't think it applies to specialty fertilizers, because my county agent in Sarasota told me to use citrus fertilizer on everything, and the formulation did not change on that. Rose and bloom fertilizers should be protected. Blood and bone meal are acceptable in Sarasota County, because they are considered soil amendments, so I'm sure the same would apply in Pinellas. Every county and city has their own laws. In North Port, where I used to live, they were horrible (well, they are horrible about everything)! They had restrictions on how much blood and bone meal you could buy, and tried to get bloom and specialty fertilizers removed from the stores.

I can't complain much, though, because I have said for years that the farmers were getting a bad break, because it was all those deed restricted waterfront lawns that were putting all the crap into the waterways and causing red tide.

Are lawn care companies still exempt, because there was something about that in Sarasota that raised a ruckus?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 11:59AM
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Your not the only county with similiar ordinance, we got much the same in Charlotte County..

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 2:19PM
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carolb_w_fl(zone 9/10)

FWIW, here's a link to an OG article on growing roses organically...

Here is a link that might be useful: Rose Care Year Round

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 9:41AM
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I never use granular fertilizer anyway so this Ordinance doesn't bother me.... I use strictly Organic--- Milorganite, Alfalfa pellets, Black Kow, Black Hen, Epsom Salt,compost, leaves, citrus-drops, kitchen scraps... all that kind of natural stuff makes the roses and the grass and the veggies thrive.... and I have not sprayed for over a year now, I have over 100 roses now and trying to figure out where to fit more in!! sally

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 3:24PM
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I don't spray the roses either, but in my yard they really need some kind of chemical slow release fertilizer to thrive. I use all of that stuff you mentioned (except Milorganite and citrus drops?), but my "soil" just eats it.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 6:35PM
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So we can see now that the county intends on applying the statute as broadly as I feared. I can see why Home Depot may have gambled on the citrus fertilizer because you are actually allowed to apply it but they are not allowed to sell it to you. Why can't they just limit this to lawn fertilizer?

Here is a link that might be useful: Home Depot fined $9,000

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 11:42PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

I'm glad I stocked up before the ban, I'd be an unhappy camper if I didn't have CRF to feed to my veggies next month! I realize veggie gardens are exempt but it's a moot point if you can't buy fertilizer anywhere....


    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 7:22AM
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I am getting low on Osmocote and couldn't get any at Dolin's. Gulf Coast, HD, Lowe's, Willow Tree... it is not used on lawns, just potted plants..if they keep this Law I'll sure stock-up in the future..... that's kind of over-kill.... what gets me is the Golf courses, most of them border water and have ups and down in their topography, which facilitates run-off, and cover lots of real-estate.... sally

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 1:20PM
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And the golf courses are exempt...

I don't think you are even going to be able to get that tomato tone stuff because it isn't a soil amendment. Maybe not even blood meal, bone meal, or fish emulsion.

They really need to redraft this.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 4:14PM
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This is a perfect example of why it is very important to actually attend County or City meetings and make your voices heard. If you go just to complain, you will likely not get anywhere. But if you go and explain to them why the wording of their ordinance is unfair or overly restrictive, then you can make a difference. This is particularly true if you go BEFORE the ordinance is actually approved.

Last couple times I've been to a meeting, I'm the only person there. Very few people are so busy that they can't go -- they are just lazy or intimidated by the process (they shouldn't be.)

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 10:07PM
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We have a similar restrictive ordinance where I live. The reality is that you cannot grow hybrid tea roses that will bloom much without violating the fertilizer ordinance in my county.

Although, I have a neighbor that planted what looks to me to be a white hybrid tea rose bush a long time ago and it does well despite being neglected. So it is possible that you can find a particular plant that is very hardy and will do well here without fertilizer. But most hybrid teas need more fertilizer than we are allowed to use here.

You can always grow your roses in containers.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 7:08AM
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