Thursday, October 21, 2021

Fertilizer Ordinance Review

Photos by Maria Lamb | Grass clippings and debris should not be blown into stormwater drains, ditches, waterbodies, sidewalks and roadways.

According to Marco’s Fertilizer Ordinance No. 16-02, any person who wants to do any kind of landscape maintenance, mowing, planting or pruning must register with the City of Marco Island.

Upon registration, the City of Marco Island will issue a windshield decal, which means that you are registered with the city and are allowed to work here.  This decal is not a permit or license to apply fertilizer.

The license to apply fertilizer is issued by the State of Florida after a landscaper has taken the Green Industries Best Management Practice (GI-BMP) course offered by Rookery Bay Estuarine Research Reserve.  Upon successful completion, landscapers may receive the Limited Commercial Fertilizer Applicator Certification (LCFAC) from the state. The contractor must carry this license with him at all times.

According to Yvette Benarroch, owner of Affordable Landscape Services, the company has registered with the City of Marco Island and was issued decals for their vehicles.  She also provided the city with their weekly fertilizing schedule and a copy of the fertilizer license for the crews that are performing the jobs, along with a copy of the label of the fertilizer being used.

If a landscape contractor does not have the state-issued fertilizer license, they are limited to landscape jobs such as mowing, edging and trimming small bushes. They can fertilize only if they successfully completed the State Green Industries Best Management Practice course and if they were issued a Limited Commercial Fertilizer Applicator Certificate from the state.

Important Things to Note About the Fertilizer Ordinance:

  • No applicator shall apply fertilizer containing nitrogen or phosphorous to landscape plants during the rainy season (June 1-September 30).
  • Fertilizer applied to turf or landscape plants must contain no less than 50% slow release nitrogen.  The bag label should read 50-0 for the first two numbers.
  • Fertilizer should not be applied within ten feet of any waterbodies unless you use a spreader deflector shield to prevent fertilization in those areas.
  • No grass clippings or vegetative debris should be blown off into stormwater drains, ditches, sidewalk and roadways.  (Affordable Landscape Service, for example, has a dedicated vacuum crew to prevent grass clippings from entering the storm drains.)

Spreader deflector shields are required when fertilizing adjacent to Fertilizer Free Zones of impervious surfaces.

What Code Enforcement Needs to Know During Rainy Season Ban:

  • Look for the green decal in the vehicle (indicating landscaper has registered with the city and is allowed to perform landscaping services in Marco).
  • Check their state-issued fertilizer license.
  • Check the fertilizer bag label, it should read zero for the first two numbers (these are not fertilizer, but micronutrients).

What Code Enforcement Needs to Know During Regular Season:

  • Look for the green decal in the vehicle.
  • Check their state-issued fertilizer license.
  • Fertilizer label should read: 50% slow release and the second number should be zero.
  • Check for a spreader with deflector shield.

One response to “Fertilizer Ordinance Review”

  1. Concerned Resident of Marco Island says:

    Clearly Government overreach. More regulation equals higher cost of doing business. Really? What I used to do as a kid (Mowing my neighbors grass) now would have to register with the City of Marco Island? Register for what? So the city can make sure the grass is properly being mowed? What authority does the city have to do this? Private Property Rights continue to be trampled on.

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