Lake County, Florida, passed an ordinance on Tuesday restricting the use and application of fertilizers containing nitrogen or phosphorus from June 1 through Sept. 30. The ordinance does allow fertilizers known as “summer blends” containing iron, manganese and other micronutrients to be used under the condition that they do not contain any nitrogen or phosphorous.
Additionally, the ordinance includes a clause that extends “fertilizer-free zones” from 10 to 15 feet away from of any pond, stream, watercourse, lake, canal or wetland. These areas are completely restricted from fertilizer use at all times.
An exception for phosphate use on flowering plants and vegetable gardens is included in the ordinance.
Bob Mann, director of state and local government relations for the National Association of Landscape Professionals attended the hearing. He said there was a good turnout even though things didn't turn out in favor of the industry.
"Our county to county record is quite good," he said. "But (the opposition) had excellent speakers who were very persuasive, and the arguments from the other side prevailed."
Outside of the summer months, fertilizers containing nitrogen applied to turf or landscaping plants during the period of Oct. 1 through May 31 must contain no less than 50 percent slow-release nitrogen. On Oct. 1, 2020, this content requirement will increase to no less than 65 percent.
The ordinance will not go into effect for another year, and the county plans to implement an educational campaign before the rule is enacted.
According to local news outlet Daily Commercial, representatives from TruGreen and Scotts Miracle-Gro attended the meeting to oppose the ordinance.
Going forward, Mann said the association will continue to bring awareness to industry professionals, encouraging them to stand up for their industry.
"We need to find that congruity between policy and scientific fact," he said.