Fertilizers containing nitrogen are banned in Alachua County until February 2022

Fertilizers containing nitrogen are banned in Alachua County until February 2022
Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 11:44 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Since 2009 Alachua County residents have not been able to use fertilizers containing nitrogen in the winter months. However, an amendment in 2019 expands that ban to the summer months. From July of 2021 until February of 2022, people will have to find alternatives.

“The whole goal is to reduce nutrient pollution into our water bodies. We are seeing the springs, the rivers, our creeks have elevated nutrients,” explained Stacie Greco, the Water Resources Program Manager with the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department. “This can contribute to algae blooms which can have health effects.”

With more rain expected throughout the summer months and hurricane season, this ban will help protect waterways from nitrogen leaching or runoff.

“If people are fertilizing too much or at the wrong times, big rainfall events can push the fertilizer past the roots into our groundwater, and that is called leaching,” said Greco. “Or it can wash off with big rain events, and that is runoff. It goes into our stormwater and into our surface water bodies.”

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As people head outside to focus on their yards that may have been damaged during Elsa and the flooding, Greco said they are hoping to switch the landscape mindset.

“We are really trying to shift the landscaping paradigm to landscapes that aren’t having an impact on our water, can maybe be a little bit more friendly to our pollinators. Maybe mixed species, a little bit more of the Florida-friendly landscaping look,” explained Greco. “Just less manicured, less intensely managed yards that still are aesthetically pleasing, protect property values, keep the soil in place.”

If you want to learn more about the fertilizer code or sign the fertilizer-free pledge, click here.

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