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Fertilizer Management

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Town Code of Ordinances: Chapter 102 - Fertilizer Management

Keep the Gulf Waters and the Bay Blue, Not Green

Summer rain showers wash fertilizers and other pollutants from our lawns into our bay and gulf waters. Stormwater runoff carries the nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizers into our waterways causing harmful algal blooms and killing aquatic life.

That is why the Town of Longboat Key prohibits the use of fertilizer containing nitrogen and phosphorus during the summer rainy season, and why at least 50 percent slow-release fertilizer is required during the rest of the year.

Fertilizer Restricted Period

  • June 1 - September 30
  • No applicator is permitted to apply fertilizers containing nitrogen or phosphorous within the town during the restricted period.

Fertilizer Content & Application Rate

  • Fertilizers applied to turf and/or landscape plants within the town shall contain no less than 50 percent slow release nitrogen per guaranteed analysis label.
  • No phosphorus fertilizer shall be applied to turf and/or landscape plants within the town at application rates which exceed 0.25 lbs. P 2 O 5 /1,000 sq. ft. per application nor exceed 0.50 lbs. P 2 O 5 /1,000 sq. ft. per year.
  • Fertilizers shall be applied to turf and/or landscape plants within the town at the lowest rate necessary. No more than four pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet shall be applied to any turf and/or landscape plants within the town in any calendar year.
  • Newly established turf and/or landscape plants are exempt from the fertilizer content and application rate for the first 60-day period after installation.

Procedure for Impervious Surfaces

Fertilizer shall not be applied, spilled, or otherwise deposited on any impervious surfaces within the town. Any fertilizer applied, spilled, or deposited, either intentionally or accidentally, on any impervious surface shall be completely removed to the greatest extent practicable. In no case shall fertilizer be washed, swept, or blown off impervious surfaces within the town into any stormwater drain, ditch, canal, waterway, or street.

Fertilizer-free Zones

  • Fertilizer shall not be applied within the town within three (3) feet of any pond, stormwater drain, ditch, canal, top of any seawall, or waterway, or within ten (10) feet of any wetland.
  • If fertilizer is applied by a broadcast spreader without a deflector, then fertilizer shall not be applied within ten (10) feet, of any pond, stormwater drain, ditch, canal, top of any seawall, or waterway, or within ten (10) feet of any wetland.
  • Newly planted turf and/or landscape plants may be fertilized in this zone only for the first 60-day establishment period.

Mode of Application

Spreader deflector shields are required when fertilizing with broadcast spreaders within the town. Deflectors must be positioned such that fertilizer granules are deflected away from all impervious surfaces, fertilizer-free zones and waterways, including wetlands.


The above provisions shall not apply to golf courses. For all golf courses, the provisions of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection document "BMP's" for the Enhancement of Environmental Quality on Florida Golf Courses, January 2007," as revised shall be followed when applying fertilizer to all golf courses.

Required Training & Records

  • All applicators of fertilizer within the town, other than private homeowners on their own property, shall abide by and successfully complete a Sarasota County-approved best management practices training program. This training shall include the most current version of the "Florida Green Industries Best Management Practices for Protection of Water Resources in Florida, June 2002," as revised.
  • Upon successful completion, a copy of a certificate of completion shall be provided to the Longboat Key Planning, Zoning & Building Department, and carried by each applicator, and shall be available for inspection upon request.
  • All commercial fertilizer applicators applying fertilizer within the town shall ensure that all applicators employed by them receive the necessary training required by the Town coder. All new employees serving as applicators shall receive the necessary within 90 days of employment and during this 90-day period shall work under the physical supervision of an applicator who has successfully completed the required best management practices training program.
  • Each commercial fertilizer applicator (and each individual applicator who is not employed by a commercial fertilizer applicator), shall maintain at their place of business in Manatee or Sarasota Counties, a business record for each fertilizer application within the town, in addition to supplementary information as prescribed by the town.

To contact the Longboat Key Planning, Zoning, & Building Department concerning certification or decals, please call (941) 316-1966, or visit us at 501 Bay Isles Road, Longboat Key, FL 34228.