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Learn How to Fertilize Properly

When you apply too much fertilizer to your yard, the unabsorbed excess gets washed away as stormwater runoff and ends up in our local lakes. Nutrients from fertilizer, like nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), promote the growth of algae and aquatic weeds, threaten the life of native plants and animals, and can cause major declines in water quality.

Over-fertilization not only leads to water quality problems, but it will stress your lawn and decrease its quality. Proper fertilizing results in healthier lawns that require less watering, have fewer pest and disease problems and have less thatch build up. Save money and promote healthy lawns and lakes by fertilizing responsibly.

Please note that the current Orange County Fertilizer Ordinance, adopted June 20, 2017, includes the area within the Orlando City Limits. One provision of the ordinance is that residential fertilizer applicators shall not fertilize from June 1-September 30 unless they have completed Orange County’s online annual Residential Fertilizer Training Course. Click here to learn more about the Orange County Ordinance and to access the online training.

Do you hire someone to take care of your yard? Always check to make sure your landscaper is Green Industries Best Management Practices Certified (GI-BMP). This is a required training for all professional landscapers to obtain their Fertilizer Applicator’s License in Florida. Orange County requires that a provided decal, designating completion of the course, be present on all commercial fertilizer vehicles.

Watering Restrictions:

OUC has watering restrictions in place that vary seasonally. Please visit their website to learn more about watering restrictions at your residence.

Select the right fertilizer:

FertilizerIconUSE ZERO-PHOSPHORUS FERTILIZER Florida soils are naturally rich in phosphorus and don't need additional amounts. Added phosphorus will end up in our lakes instead of your yard. Look for the N-P-K number to have a 0 in the middle.
FertilizerIconUSE A 50% SLOW-RELEASE NITROGEN FORMULA These fertilizers are designed to allow nitrogen to release over time, maximizing your yard's consumption of the nutrient. This will keep your yard looking good longer and save you money in the long run.
FertilizerIconFOLLOW THE LABEL INSTRUCTIONS The instructions on the bag will help you calculate how much fertilizer to use, as well as when and where to use it. These labels are in accordance with federal and state laws.

Apply it correctly:

FertilizerIcon ONLY FERTILIZE WHEN YOUR YARD NEEDS IT. If your yard already has the right amount of nutrients present, your lawn won't soak up any of the extra that you have added. All of those extra nutrients will be washed down the drain. If your lawn appears yellow during the summer months, apply an iron product to restore the green.  Extra fertilizer will NOT make your lawn greener. Don't know where to start when it comes to fertilizing? Collect a soil sample and sent it to the UF Soil Testing Lab for analysis.
FertilizerIconNEVER FERTILIZE BEFORE A RAIN STORM. If heavy rain is in the 2-day forecast, wait to fertilize. Anymore than 1/4 inch of water may wash away the work you just did.
FertilizerIconUSE A 15-FOOT "FERTILIZER-FREE" ZONE AROUND WATER. When spreading fertilizer, stay at least 15 feet away from the water's edge and use a deflector shield on your fertilizer spreader.
FertilizerIconCLEAN UP SPILLS If fertilizer ends up on a paved surface such as a driveway, sidewalk or street, sweep it back onto your lawn or collect it for later use.

Download this content as a Printable Fertilizer Guide to use as a resource at home.


Need additional help? View nine tips to help you reach the goal of a Florida-Friendly Yard.