PINELLAS COUNTY, FLORIDA - Helpful information about Pinellas lawns & landscapes.

FL Dept of Environmental Protection Prove Fertilizer Ordinances Do Nothing For Florida Waterways

Lawns Protect Florida Waterways
FL Dept of Environmental Protection Study Shows Lawns Protect Florida Waterways

Lobbied by environmental groups, in 2010 Pinellas County passed ordinances mandating the use of expensive so called “slow release fertilizers” and the outright ban of nitrogen fertilizers during the summer. Environmental groups claimed fertilizers used on home lawns polluted Florida waterways. But a 6-year study by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) published in 2012 concluded the environmental groups and the ordinances are without justification. Simply put – They were wrong!

The Study Shows Nitrogen Does Not Leach from Lawns

The FDEP study showed that lawns have the ability to act like a sponge, soaking up nitrogen. To prove this, they applied a potent water soluble nitrogen fertilizer, a 46-0-0, to St Augustine turf at low, medium and excessive rates and tested water that had passed through the turf. The FDEP study demonstrated that, even when a potent water soluble fertilizer is applied at excessive rates to turf, water that passed through the turf, had nitrogen levels far below the standard set by the EPA for drinking water.

What the Study Recommended

The study found no reason to limit fertilizers to expensive slow release sources or to limit fertilizer applications to specific times of the year. The most important consideration was cultural practices: proper mowing height and watering. Fertilizer ordinances do nothing to improve Florida waterways. Educating the public to mow as high as the mower will go and cease the water restrictions to allow lawns to be watered as much and as often as needed to keep the lawn healthy would actually help Florida waterways.

What the Study Says About Lawns and the Environment

The most common sense conclusion to the FDEP study is “lawns are good for the environment”. Lawns act like a giant sponge, soaking up pollution. Not just soaking up fertilizer, but soaking up nitrogen from other sources like animal waste, pollen, dust, rainwater and leaves. All are recycled into plant food and what flows out of the lawn is water safe to drink and safe for our Florida waterways.

Related Articles:

Preliminary Research Proves: Lawns Do Not Pollute

Why A St Augustine Lawn is a Good for You and Good for the Urban Environment


Article by Rick Orr
APL Lawn Spraying Inc.

Rick Orr is the creator of, an Agronomist and the Owner/Operator of APL Lawn Spraying. Rick is a graduate from VA Tech in Agronomy (Turf Ecology). He has been a Golf Course Superintendent, Certified Arborist, Landscape Contractor, Irrigation Contractor and Adjunct Professor for Environmental Horticulture.

Rick is an expert at growing St Augustine turf. Since 1995, Rick has spent his time researching, developing and testing the best management practices for St Augustine turf grown in Pinellas County.

The results of that work is a one of the top rated lawn spray companies in Pinellas County – APL Lawn Spraying. APL Lawn Spraying is a family owned business serving residential and commercial properties in Pinellas County, FL.

APL Lawn Spraying provides lawn spraying to commercial properties, HOA’s and single family homes. To request a free quote for your property, click here: Free Advice or Price Quote

Speaking Engagments - 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. Call or email for more information.

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