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Fertilizer Usage

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Excess nitrogen and phosphorus pollute our local waterways. These nutrients cause harmful algae blooms that can turn our river green, raise its toxicity, and lower the oxygen levels possibly leading to fish kills. The treatment to remove these nutrients costs taxpayers millions of dollars each year. Fertilizer and landscape debris are nutrient sources that you can control to prevent these occurrences.

Improper use of fertilizer and poor landscape practices can allow nutrient pollution to leach into ground water, or wash into the storm drainage system that eventually flows to the North Fork of the St. Lucie River and the St. Lucie Estuary, one of the most diverse estuaries in the world.

To address these issues, on March 24, 2014, the City of Port St. Lucie City Council approved a more stringent fertilizer ordinance regulating landscape practices and uses of fertilizers containing nitrogen and phosphorus.


How does the new fertilizer ordinance affect you?

It’s important to know the new regulations; since they will help to reduce harmful nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) found in fertilizers and yard waste, from polluting our waterways.

Residents are encouraged to make their landscape a Florida-friendly Landscape. Do your part to create a more sustainable Florida! Download a copy of the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Handbook.

If you plan to fertilize your lawn, here’s what you need to know:

Restricted Season

No fertilizer containing nitrogen and/or phosphorus (phosphate) shall be applied to turf or landscape plants from June 1 to September 30 each year.

Weather Watch

No application of fertilizer shall be made when a flood, tropical storm or hurricane watch or warning is forecast, or more than 2 inches of rain is expected.

Nitrogen Application

During the non-restricted season October 1 to May 31, nitrogen fertilizer must contain at least 50% slow release nitrogen. Refer to the link below on how to determine slow release nitrogen content in fertilizer.

Phosphorus Application

No fertilizer containing phosphorus (phosphate) shall be applied anytime during the year, unless a soil test showing a deficiency is taken. Contact UF-IFAS extension office for further information on testing at (772) 462-1660.

Fertilizer-Free Zone

Do not apply fertilizer within 10 feet from the top of bank of any water surface, landward edge of top of a seawall, or wetland.

Stormwater Run Off

Keep fertilizer off of hard surfaces, ditches, conveyances or water bodies; if spilled clean up immediately. Keep grass clippings and landscape debris from being deposited into storm drains, ditches, surface waters, and roadways to reduce runoff pollution.


Violations of this ordinance and its requirements can result in monetary fines.

Helpful Links

Commercial Fertilizer Applicators

Florida Statute 482.1562 states that all commercial fertilizer applicators must have a Limited Commercial Fertilizer Applicator Certificate (License) from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) by January 1, 2014.

This Limited Commercial Fertilizer Applicator Certificate (License) will be required to receive or renew your Business Tax Receipt (BTR) in the City of Port St. Lucie.

Listed below are the requirements to acquire the Limited Commercial Fertilizer Applicator Certificate (License):

  • Must successfully pass the Florida Friendly Best Management Practices for Protection of Water Resources by the Green Industries Class (also referred to as GI-BMP).
  • Apply/Pay fee for the Limited Commercial Fertilizer Applicator Certificate (License) from FDACS.

You can find information, including training class schedules, about the GI-BMP program online.

The training classes can be in a classroom setting or you may opt to take an online class. For more information, contact the UF-IFAS office at (772) 462-1660.

Download the GI-BMP manual:

After receiving your certificate from GI-BMP class, download an Application for Limited Certification for Urban Landscape Commercial Fertilizer from FDACS.

Fertilizer Ordinance

On March 24, 2014, the City of Port St. Lucie City Council passed a more stringent fertilizer ordinance to help protect local surface waters, including the North Fork of the St Lucie River and the St Lucie Estuary.

The ordinance includes many new regulations and requirements for commercial applicators, mainly a fertilizer blackout period from June 1 to Sept 30, along with a zero phosphorus usage requirement, unless a state certified soil test verifies that there is a phosphorus deficiency.

Please read and adhere to the requirements of the fertilizer ordinance.

Violations of this ordinance and its requirements can result in monetary fines.

Frequently Asked Questions for Commercial Applicators

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