Give your fertilizer a summer vacation, help the lagoon


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The Indian River Lagoon offers solace during the troubling COVID-19 pandemic.

Klinton Landress

Even with the current COVID issues, we can still relate to the joys of a summer vacation. 

The Indian River Lagoon will thank you if you give your fertilizer a vacation this summer. In fact, Brevard County regulations prohibit spreading fertilizer on lawns and yards from June 1 to Sept. 30. The fine can be up to $500.

With frequent summer rain, fertilizer spread during the summer is more likely to wash into the lagoon. That causes more algal blooms than vegetation growth. 

Before the regulation was passed, more than 127,000 pounds of nitrogen and 12,000 pounds of phosphorous nutrients entered the waters each year. With the regulations in 2014, nitrogen dropped by 36 percent and phosphorous by 74 percent. By ensuring that lawn care companies comply, we’ll even do better.

In addition to banning spreading from June to the end of September, the ordinance specifies that only fertilizers with zero phosphorous and at least 50 percent slow release nitrogen are allowed in Brevard County. Also, avoid fertilizing within 15 feet of water bodies.

Why?

 Because these nutrients contribute to algae blooms in the Indian River Lagoon. So, we need to be sparing. Most of Brevard’s soils already are rich in phosphorous (it is actually mined nearby). And, using slow release nitrogen means your plants aren’t overfed. They enjoy the nutrition during a longer period.

While the regulations don’t ban stores from selling fertilizers during the summer, some responsible retailers, such as ACE Hardware in Titusville, have pulled the product from their shelves during this period. All stores are required to post signs reminding shoppers not to fertilize during the summer blackout and to remind them about the types of fertilizer that are allowed in Brevard from October through April.

To learn more about how to help the Indian River Lagoon go to HelpTheLagoon.org.