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Fertilizer bans begin Tuesday for parts of the Tampa Bay area: What you need to know

Harmful nutrients that can be found in fertilizers can cause algae blooms and kill fish.

TAMPA, Fla — If you live in the Tampa Bay area, it's important to pay attention to the fertilizer restrictions that are designed to keep Florida's frequent afternoon showers and storms from washing potentially harmful nitrogen or phosphorous into the state's waterways. 

Those harmful nutrients can cause algae blooms and kill fish.

That's why during the rainy season, some local governments ask people to use more environmentally-friendly fertilizers that contain zero nitrogen and zero phosphorus. 

Between June 1 and Sept. 30, fertilizer bans are in place in Pinellas, Manatee,  and Sarasota counties, along with the city of Tampa.

Pasco County has a fertilizer ordinance in place year-round to help prevent pollution and also help preserve local water quality.

People can still use products with double zeroes on the fertilizer label and use plants that are Florida-friendly.

You can find more tips on how to have a Florida-friendly landscape on the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences website.

Leaders in Sarasota County shared tips that can help people keep their yards looking good during the summer months while the restriction is in place: 

  • Use only fertilizers with zero nitrogen and zero phosphorous.
  • Apply iron, found at most garden centers, as an effective and environmentally friendly alternative to keep lawns green during the summer.
  • Use compost to enrich the soil.
  • Buy plants adapted to Florida's hot and humid climate.
  • Mow higher to encourage deep roots that resist fungus and pests.
  • Sweep grass clippings back into the yard, or recycle them in a compost pile. Do not allow grass clippings to be washed into storm drains.


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