How the Nitrogen Black Out Effects Lawn Spraying and St Augustine Turf Grass Lawns


By Rick Orr 04/24/2020
Lighted sign says "Fertilizer Application Ban with handwritten note says This is a lie
So, why lie? Probably because they have come under the spell of environmentalists activists who want you to stop fertilizing your lawn.

Nitrogen Blackout Not Fertilizer Ban

There is no fertilizer ban – there is a nitrogen black-out from June 1st until October 1st. You can still fertilize with other fertilizers – Iron, Sulfur, Potassium, etc., just no nitrogen. This is not optimum or even good science.

Study Shows Summer Best for Nitrogen Applications

A study by the University of Florida, funded by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection showed nitrogen applied during the rapid growth periods of summer was less likely to move into the water bodies than during winter months. It would be best to apply small amounts of nitrogen year-round. However, the nitrogen blackout forces us to apply higher rates in the winter to compensate for the blackout.

The sign was at the corner of 4th Street and 62nd Ave North, June 1st, 2015. This sign, put up by the city officials, is a lie about an ordinance the city officials created. They should know better. The sign should say “Nitrogen Application Ban”. But I believe this was intentional. It is the city officials trying to malign the green industry by convincing the public that A) Fertilizers are banned and B) Fertilizers are harmful (that’s why they were banned).

A Better Way

St Augustine grass is one of the best filter plants on the planet. The more St Augustine grass in Pinellas, the cleaner our urban environment and our water bodies. Adding small amounts of fertilizer feeds this important filter plant and keeps it healthy and actively cleaning our environment.

Fertilizing the Lawn During the Blackout

This summer, while treating for chinch bugs, grubs, mole crickets, and sod webworms, we will be applying non-nitrogen fertilizers. For customers who have been receiving regular applications over the past eight months, we applied extra nitrogen to build up nitrogen levels to last through the blackout. This is not optimum for the grass or the environment, but until the law changes, it is what we are forced to do.


Rick Orr Owner-Operator APL Pest Control/Creator of ILOVETURF.COM
APL Pest Control

Rick Orr is the creator of, Owner/Operator of APL Pest Control, and a graduate of VA Tech in Agronomy (Turf Ecology).  

Since 1980, Rick worked in the green industry, mostly with golf courses, resorts, and large communities. Rick worked as a Golf Course Superintendent of Fripp Island Resort, agronomist for Seaside, FL, and the spray tech for Vinoy Golf Course. Rick has been certified as an arborist, landscape and irrigation contractor, and adjunct professor for Environmental Horticulture (SPC) in Pinellas County.  

Home Pest Control came naturally. Entomology (bug science) was part of agronomy studies. Nearly every indoor pest problem starts outdoors. Crossing over to home pest control from lawn spraying was a natural process – the technology, methods, and materials used for home pest control are modifications of the ones used for lawn spraying. 

The result of that work is one of the top-rated pest control companies in Pinellas County – APL Pest Control. APL Pest Control is a family-owned business serving residential and commercial properties in Pinellas County, FL. 

Free Price Quote for Home Pest Control and/or Lawn Care CLICK HERE

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Speaking Engagements - Does it seem like you are only hearing one side of water restrictions, fertilizer bans, plant restrictions, and many other urban landscape hot topics? Rick Orr is available for speaking engagements for your HOA, Community or Professional Association, or Garden Club about a variety of subjects. To contact Rick you can find him on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram for booking information.