Article : Florida Fertilizer Ban Upheld

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Florida Fertilizer Ban Upheld

Efforts by the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA) and local contractors to have municipal fertilizer restrictions removed have failed after a state senate committee voted 4-3 to maintain current laws regarding fertilizer application.

Fertilizer restrictions have been adopted in 64 Florida local governments to keep nutrients from washing into local waterways during the rainy season. The Senate bill would have allowed landscapers certified through fertilizer application training to ignore these local bans.

Jim Spratt, the FNGLA Director of Government Affairs, told LC/DBM the association’s contention is that when debating this issue, everything needs to be based on science.

“We have seen some local municipalities implementing fertilizer blackout periods during the rainy season, which is in the summer, when plants most need fertilizer,” he said.

According to the Naples News, during debate on the bill, the bill's sponsor, Committee Chairman Charlie Dean, summoned Terril Nell, a horticulturist at the University of Florida, before the Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee.

Jim Spratt — Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association Director of Government Affairs — Spoke to LC/DBM about legislation that was defeated in Florida that would have allowed for fertilizer use by landscape contractors during “black out periods” in the state.

“The science is very clear,” said Nell. “Healthy turf grass reduces runoff and leaching because healthy turf grass slows down water flow, the roots are healthy, the roots absorb more nutrients. It's plain and simple.”

Spratt said he understands the intention of the laws prohibiting fertilizer use but added the rules are hurting landscape contractors.

“Trained professionals should be treated differently than homeowners,” he said.

During debate on the bill, the Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee faced strong opposition from local governments proud of their ordinances and concerned about a decline in tourism because of poor water quality.

Spratt said much of the debate focused on the black out periods rather than the science behind fertilizer use.

“This was disappointing because it became a roadblock in the legislature,” he said.

Spratt said the FNGLA is not giving up on this issue, noting that the association will keep working to get relief for landscape contractors.

“We learned that simply relying on the science is not enough to allay public thoughts on this issue,” he said. “We need to come up with a ‘not too technical’ approach to the argument.”

Older Comments
Name: G. Brian Wheeler RLAWrote in with correction comment
Comment: The Science portion of this argument supports the utilization of Bio-Fertilization, soil microbes capable of producing nutrients, which will provide superior plant growth with a significant improvement in nutrient control. This approach would allow the landscape industry to be productive year round while avoiding chemical fertilizers. The Landscape Industry should be embracing new technology that is beneficial to the environment rather than trying to maintain regulatory controls over outdated chemical fertilizer usage. Our Landscape Architecture practice no longer specifies fertilizer application for our clients, why not define Bio-Fertilization as an acceptable year-round alternative to conventional fertilization and get science aligned with Legislative & Landscape Industry objectives.

Name: MaryAnn HartWrote in with general comment
Comment: I think all synthetic fertilization should be banned whether done by home owner of professional. We need to have this done throughout the entire country. Organic fetilizers should be the only way to go!

Name: Phillip H.  PfeiferWrote in with general comment
Comment: There are a lot of beneficial natural products that can be used; such as granite dust, sea salts, etc. Thanks! have a Blessed day!!! Phillip

Name: Wm. A. "Bill"  FisherWrote in with correction comment
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Name: Susan WashingtonWrote in with comment
Comment: On what date was this article published on your web site?

Name: Kyle Cavaness, LandscapeOnlineWrote in with correction comment
Comment: Editor\'s Note:

This article was published February 24, 2012.

Name: alan millerWrote in with correction comment
Comment: There are other ways,that are both simple, and cost effective while providing a continuos revenue stream for business professionals. Check out our web site


June 30, 2016, 8:15 am EST

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