You sip your morning coffee and survey your backyard oasis. It’s a beautiful field of green St. Augustine grass that feels great underfoot and looks great.
A beautiful lawn in South Florida doesn’t just happen. It requires a regimen of constant watering, following a strict lawn fertilizing schedule, and regular aerating to get that lush green.
But now Miami-Dade has joined more than 130 cities and counties in Florida that have adopted rules regulating when and what you can use to fertilize your lawn. How will you keep your lawn looking great if you can’t fertilize it in the summer?
Concerned customers have been contacting us, worried about what the new law means for them and their yards. Rest assured, here at One Two Tree we’ve been all over this from the beginning, and we can follow the law and keep your lawn green.
Let’s take a look at what the law says, how we have adapted to follow it, and what you need to keep in mind going forward.
About The New Fertilizer Law
In April, Miami-Dade County passed the new law on fertilizer use in an effort to make lawn care more environmentally friendly. The “Miami-Dade County Ordinance for Florida-Friendly Fertilizer Use on Urban Landscapes” is one of the stricter regulations in the state due to its longer blackout period for using certain fertilizers.
There’s a lot to unpack in the law, but there are three things that are key for homeowners to understand.
- You can’t fertilize from May 15 to October 31
- “Can’t fertilize” really means you can’t use fertilizers that contain nitrogen or phosphorus during the restricted period
- There are extra restrictions for use of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers during the rest of the year and restrictions on the amount of those nutrients your fertilizer can have
The rules about phosphorus or nitrogen in fertilizer go into place starting August 1, 2021 with possible $500 fines. They cover anything inside of Miami city limits as well as unincorporated areas under Miami-Dade jurisdiction. There are exceptions to the rules for farms, vegetable gardens, and a few others.
The goal of the law is to protect area waterways, like Biscayne Bay, by limiting the nitrogen in fertilizers’ effect on the environment, since fertilizer runoff contributes to algae blooms and kills fish in our waterways.
The restricted period follows the rainy season for South Florida. The heavy rain makes it more likely fertilizer will run off into the canals and make its way to the bay.
Getting too much nitrogen fertilizer in the soil just increases the amount that can runoff. South Florida has a longer rainy season, which is why a longer restricted period was approved.
Fertilizer is one of the four major sources of pollution in Biscayne Bay, along with sewage leaks, stormwater runoff, and septic tanks.
Our New Fertilizer Blend
The new fertilizer rules have been in process for more than a year now. One Two Tree chose to stay ahead of them by reformulating our fertilizer blend before the summer season. While the new rules don’t go into effect until August, we’re already following them when we care for your lawn.
Our reformulated fertilizer blend relies on potassium as a macronutrient, which means it can be applied during the summer blackout period when your lawn needs it most. It follows our goal of using environmentally friendly formulas that give your lawn what it needs.
Potassium keeps roots healthy and improves plants’ ability to tolerate stress situations like drought. We’ve combined it with micronutrients we’ve used for years, like iron, magnesium, and manganese.
Our fertilizer is mixed on-site and applied as a liquid so it absorbs into the ground and is at less risk for washing away. It will continue to give you greener grass, thicker growth, and control of fungal infections.
Optimal Lawn Fertilizing Schedule
In South Florida, grass grows year-round, so the typical fertilization schedule followed by most of the country doesn’t work so well for us.
Spring and fall are common times for fertilizing because of the milder temperatures. Fertilizing in the spring gets your lawn off to a good start, so it’s healthy when the summer heat rolls around.
But our summer rainy season means heavy rainfall that can harm your grass by leaching off natural nutrients. The soil in the Miami area is naturally infertile already, so summer fertilizing is important to replace what the rain washes away. You need the nutrients and not just the water to grow a great yard here.
An optimal schedule includes what you fertilize with as well as when. We recommend bi-monthly applications for most yards and mix the fertilizer on-site to get the right amount for your yard at that time. This allows us to adjust to what is happening in your yard, as well as recent weather conditions.
We find this schedule works well for Florida’s most common grass type of St. Augustine as well as high-end laws with zoysiagrass.
Worried About Your Lawn?
Keeping South Florida lawns green and lush has always involved knowing what and when to fertilize the grass with. Following the new law passed in Miami-Dade only impacts your lawn fertilizing schedule if you continue to use fertilizers that rely on nitrogen or phosphorus to feed the lawn. Our fertilizer blend has been reformulated to one with potassium that can be used year-round with reduced environmental impact.
Concerned about keeping to the best lawn fertilizer schedule for your yard? Contact us to get an assessment of your grass and discuss a lawn care plan.