At the request of its Policy Board, the Estuary Program has developed a series of Guidelines for Use of Lawn and Landscape Fertilizer. Recommendations include:
- Avoiding use of lawn/landscape fertilizers containing Nitrogen or Phosphorous from June 1-September 30 each year to keep summer rains from washing fertilizer residues into bays, ponds, lakes or rivers.
- Using a slow-release fertilizer that provides food to grass and landscape plants slowly, rather than all at once.
- Maintaining a 10-foot "fertilizer-free" zone around any waterway or wetland.
- Sweeping up any fertilizer granules that get on paved areas such as roads and driveways, where they can wash into storm drains with rainfall and then be carried to water bodies.
- Homeowners who use reclaimed water to water their landscape should check with their utility provider to find out how much nitrogen is in the reclaimed water. They may not need to use as much, or any, additional fertilizer to keep their landscape healthy.
TBEP developed a Model Fertilizer Use Ordinance that is now being considered by several communities in the Tampa Bay region.
Based on implementation of the TBEP Model Ordinance throughout the watershed, TBEP staff developed estimates of expected reductions in nitrogen loads that enter the bay through residential stormwater runoff. The full technical report outlining these estimates is located here: Link to Document .
In addition, the TBEP developed estimates of the amount of nitrogen in reclaimed water systems throughout communities in the Tampa Bay region. The varying nitrogen content in reclaimed water could further reduce the need to apply supplemental fertilizer to turf grasses throughout the year. The full technical report outlining these estimates is located here: Link to Document .