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County Commissioners Schedule Public Hearing on Changes to Fertilizer Ordinance

By Casey Owens on February 17, 2021    7 Comments

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Leon County Board of County Commissioners voted to schedule a public hearing for an ordinance amending the county’s current fertilizer ordinance.

The State of Florida Model Fertilizer Ordinance being updated and the changes to the current fertilizer ordinance in Leon County are an attempt to stay up to date with the new State Model. The modifications to the current ordinance include changes to definitions and references that are consistent with the Model Ordinance. For instance, the definition for “Commercial fertilizer applicator” according to the Model Ordinance now has the exemption for landscapers who apply fertilizer only to individual residential properties using fertilizer and equipment provided by the residential property owner or resident.

The applicator certification expiration timeframe would be increased from three to four years, and the new ordinance would include new application rates based on the seasons — a maximum of two pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in the spring and summer months and a maximum of one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in the fall months. Winter applications are prohibited.

Fertilizer application rates for lawns with Zoysia grass would be reduced from three to five pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet to two to three pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, while application rates for lawns with Bahia, Bermuda, Centipede and St. Augustine grasses would not change.

These amendments to the current Leon County ordinance would also be consistent with the City of Tallahassee’s fertilizer ordinance that has already been updated to the Model Ordinance. These updates to the current ordinance were recommended for approval by the Science Advisory Committee (SAC) and the Water Resources Committee (WRC).

The public hearing for the ordinance is slated for May 11, 2021. County staff plans to reach out to commercial contractors to learn about best practices before the public hearing.