Alfalfa meal banned?

claferg zone 9a FlMay 6, 2010

I recently went to a popular local hardware store that advertised on line that it carried alfalfa meal, which I like to use on my roses. They didn't have any in stock but told me that I could order it and their warehouse would deliver it to the store. During the ordering process the salesman found that it could no longer be ordered since a new law in Florida is banning the use of fertilizers which contain phosphates. This totally took me by surprise. The breakdown of alfalfa meal is 2.5-1-1. I am no chemist but does 1% phosphate a large amount? The purpose of this new law is for environmental protection, to keep phosphates out of our waterways from the runoff of over fertilized lawns that can in turn cause algae growth etc. etc. I would imagine that all companies like Miracle Grow and Scotts or any fertilizer companies would have to reformulate their fertilizers for sale here in Florida.

Stores can continue to sell the products until their stock is depleted. I wonder if feed stores will have to discontinue alfalfa pellets as well? As far as I know Florida is the only state that has enacted this law. I wonder if finding fertilizer in this state will become difficult?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just wanted to comment on the Alfalfa, years ago my Father started using Alfalfa for his Roses. He used the alfalfa cubes they looked like tiny hay bails, you get it by the 50lb bag at the feed store. He stuffed them inside an old pair of pantyhose that was tied off to the side of a garbage can and filled it with water to make a tea. After time passed I imagine a few days or week I don't know they would dip out the liquid and feed them to the roses. What happened is they got termendous growth and it was exciting to see however after a period of time they discontinued the process because they felt they were getting less roses. I was not really involved with the whole process but thought I would share that method with you.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 6:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you look at the formulation numbers it is telling you that it is geared for foliage growth not for blooms. What jjaazzy said makes a lot of sense to me.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 7:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
annafl(z9b/10a Sarasota)


That's very interesting to me. My understanding is that the ban is for any fertilizer containing phosphorus, and maybe even nitrogen (?). However, I believe it might be for the summer months only- during the rainy season- June through September. Alfalfa meal is now advertised as fertilizer, and is available at nurseries for this purpose, with the N-P-K designation you noted, but I cannot imagine there would be any limitations to purchasing it at a feed store. After all, animals have to eat year-round! First of all, the amounts of these minerals in alfalfa are very small, and secondly, they are extremely slow release. It is not much more than compost. The alfalfa one gets at the feed store has no N-P-K designation on the bag. Although it seems silly to ban these forms of fertilizer for any part of the year, a third of the year is actually quite reasonable to be able to enforce limitations on the use of the other fertilizers which have the larger amounts getting in our waters. It will probably teach us to us use fertilizers in fall or early spring, when it will be more available to the plants anyway. Call your local feed store. I'm pretty sure you'll be able to get however much you want at a much more reasonable price. Here, I get a 50 pound bag for about $17. I usually apply in January or February, though, and it works just fine.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 7:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I talked to the extension service about the ban, and it's supposed to be only for Lawn fertilizers. Some counties and municipalities are making their own laws, though. My city has a total ban on phosphates, but I can drive 7 miles to the next town and buy anything I want except lawn fertilizer, but if I get caught with it, I can get fined. So I keep my 10-10-10 in an old citrus fertilizer bag, and shred the 10-10-10 bag and put it a little at a time in the garbage. I use mostly palm and citrus fertilizers now, because they are allowed to have phosphates.

I hate government that tries to tell you you can't put an essential element on your plants.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 8:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claferg zone 9a Fl

I thank you all for your great insights. I was not aware that the ban was for only the summer months. I have been having a difficult time finding alfalfa meal in this area. The feed stores carry pellets but I was under the impression that you had to make sure there weren't ingredients like salt or molasses (not sure if it was molasses)in the mixture which is why I was looking for the meal. Is this only a ban on lawn fertilizers, or all fertilizers? I just found out about this today and haven't done much research.
Perhaps I should call my AG center for this county and see exactly what the ins and outs of this ban
I thought that using an organic fertilizer might be better for the environment.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 9:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I use the pellet form that I get at the Seminole Feed Store. It's excellent stuff. I believe horse feed does not have sugar in it, but rabbit feed does.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 10:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claferg zone 9a Fl

Thanks Sherry, I'll have to make sure I get the horse feed then. I fertilized my roses in the early spring with rose fertilizer, but with the recent heatwave, I am doing extra watering and the rose foliage is looking a little light green instead of a deep green. I didn't think it would get this warm this fast. It sure makes the roses shrivel up pretty quickly.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 11:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm way up in Plymouth, Mn. They have same phosphorus ban here (lots of lakes, plus we're in Mississippi river tributary area). For lawn greening we depend on Milorganite, which has iron in it. In the 40 x 100 veggie / berry garden we use alfalfa meal and / or cubes. Haven't tried pellets yet.
We also have about 3 dozen hardy shrub roses which have greatly improved their blooming with alfalfa meal/nuggets.
I wish to correct someone who said alfalfa would only be for leafy growth?? Because of nitrogen?? Actually with alfalfa you're getting a special substance which does stimulate the blooming. Icinosate or something like that.
Someone else was concerned with beet pulp or sugars as an ingredient--- actually this would be fine, it would feed the worms which work for the soil. Jerry Baker books talk a little about sugary things helping soil/compost/worms.

Here is a link that might be useful: MN Valley Alfalfa Producers

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 11:46AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
TR Hovey dwarf papaya plants
This year I branched out and grew two varieties of...
Thinking of planting azaleas
So I went for it and ripped out the ugly bushes in...
Tomato varieties good from now to early summer?
I am in zone 10A or B—can't quite make out where...
Staghorn cutting
A friend gave me a piece of her staghorn. How do I...
Looking for wax jambu and Barbados cherry cuttings
Looking to purchase some cuttings of the following...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™