Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Rules for Marco’s Fertilizer Ordinance

Photos by Maria Lamb | All professional landscapers applying fertilizer in Marco need to register with the city.

Marco Island is surrounded by water. With over 100 miles of manmade canals, water is a major part of island life. All residents should ensure that our waterways are protected from pollution.

The City of Marco Island approved its own Fertilizer Ordinance in March 2016 and joined the more than 90 Florida municipalities that have adopted fertilizer ordinances since 2008. It is one more way to ensure safe water quality for all its residents.

Fertilizer products contain nutrients such as nitrogen (N) and phosphorous (P) which are plant nutrients. Increased amounts of both in our canals can cause massive algae blooms. They have the potential for significant negative impact on the marine environment and marine organisms in our canals, and in our ocean, contributing to fish kills.

Waste discharge from boats anchored in or around Marco Island contributes to the pollution of our waterways.

Main rules for applying fertilizer

(From City of Marco Island’s website)

  • Do not apply fertilizer during the rainy season (June 1 – September 30) or when a weather event is predicted that will include heavy rainfall.
  • Do not apply fertilizer to impervious surfaces (concrete, asphalt, pavers, etc.) or within 10 feet of a watercourse, lake, wetland or storm drain. Always use a spreader deflector shield to prevent fertilization in those areas.
  • Do not apply phosphorus fertilizer unless a soil test has determined there is a deficiency of phosphorus.
  • Fertilizers must contain no less than 50% slow release nitrogen.
  • Fertilizer may only be applied four times per year and no more than four pounds of nitrogen may be applied per 1000 square feet per year

Professional landscapers applying fertilizer on Marco need to get registered with the City. In order to register, landscapers need to take the Green Industries Best Management Practice (GI-BMP) course offered by Rookery Bay to receive the Limited Commercial Fertilizer Applicator Certification (LCFAC) from the State.

Check the Label on the Fertilizer Bag

The fertilizer bag label contains content information. It should read: Nitrogen (N) as the first number, phosphorous (P) the second number, and potassium (K) the third number. For example: 16-0-8 means it has 16% nitrogen, 0% phosphorous and 8% potash.

On the back of each fertilizer package is the “Guaranteed Analysis” section, where it will specify the percentage of nitrogen used as slow release. For a 16-0-8 label, the bottom portion of the Guaranteed Analysis should state “8.00% Slow Released Nitrogen (SRN).” At least 50% of the nitrogen (N) in the fertilizer should be slow release nitrogen. Make sure the phosphorous (P) content listed on the fertilizer bag is zero.

Note: Avoid fertilizer containing weed killers or pesticides. Most herbicides and pesticides are toxic to aquatic organism and many are known carcinogens. Spot treat affected areas for weeds and insects and use non-toxic alternatives.


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