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LC's Reactions to Ban Mixed

Similar to bans in neighboring Collier, Sarasota and Charlotte counties and other areas of the country, the Lee County ban seeks to reduce algae blooms (depicted). Local LC's have mixed reactions.

A new ordinance governing fertilizer use recently went into effect in Lee County, Fla.

The ordinance precludes the use of fertilizers containing phosphorus and nitrogen during the raining season (June to September) and limits application of the same for the rest of the year. Nitrogen must also be at least partially of the slow release variety. Application of product is banned within 10 feet of bodies of water, deflector shields are now required on spreaders and depositing clippings and trimmings in ditches, drains, roads, sidewalks and bodies of water is also a no-no.

Penalties are $100 for violation one, $250 for violation two and $500 from thereon.

The premise behind the ordinance is that excessive fertilizer application results in excess nutrients in waterways, leading to algae blooms that deprive other aquatic life of sunlight and nutrients needed to survive. The practices mandated by the ordinance are meant to reduce the problem.

Local landscape contractors had mixed reactions.

Jim Duffy of Lawn Doctor told local media his company won't be impacted because they've already been practicing several of the methods required as a result of the ordinance for four years. He also cited a concern about waterways and beaches when applauding the ordinance.

The same source claims Terry McLaughlin of McLaughlin's Lawn Landscaping, Pest Control and Irrigation has a very different perspective. He feels without a restriction on fertilizer sales, the ordinance in un-enforceable. He argues as a result, it only succeeds in punishing trained applicators while allowing un-trained homeowners to over-apply unpunished.

For information on similar bans elsewhere, see "Tampa Nitrogen Fertilizer Ban?" ( and "Another Fertilizer Ban Approved" (

Source: Fort Meyer News-Press

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July 23, 2019, 10:33 pm PDT

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