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Skip the Nitrogen on Your Lawn: Pump Some Iron Instead


TAMPA -- The local government partners of the Be Floridian fertilizer education campaign remind residents of Manatee and Pinellas counties and the city of Tampa that they can’t apply nitrogen or phosphorous to lawn and landscape plants from June 1-September 30. But that doesn’t mean your grass will turn brown, shrivel up and die!

Garden centers in these communities offer a variety of “summer-safe” yard products that will help keep your landscape green and growing throughout our long, hot summer. Look for fertilizers with “0” as the first two numbers on the label (as in 0-0-6). These do not contain either nitrogen or phosphorous. Compost and compost-based products such as cow manure, mushroom compost and earthworm castings also are allowed.

Summer rains don’t water fertilizer in, they wash it away -- right into our ponds, bays, rivers and the Gulf of Mexico. Too much fertilizer can cause algae blooms and fish kills, spoiling the beautiful waterways that are our major source of recreation. Follow these Florida-friendly lawn care practices to “protect our fun” this summer:

Pump some iron. An application of iron, readily available at most garden centers, will keep your lawn green during the summer.

Micro-size It! Apply micronutrients such as zinc and manganese to keep your grass healthy.

Get Better Dirt. Mix in composted cow or chicken manure, or your own home compost, to enrich your soil. It’s like giving vitamins to your yard.

Pick better plants. Buy plants adapted to Florida’s hot, humid climate and plant them in the right place according to their sun and water needs. They’ll need less water, fertilizer and chemicals year-round, and you’ll have more time for bicycling, boating, grilling or just relaxing by the pool sipping a drink with a little umbrella in it.

For more tips on how to Be Floridian, visit www.befloridian.org

A list of ordinance-compliant products is located at http://www.befloridian.org/florida-friendly-products/. More than 120 products are on this list, with the majority produced by Florida-based companies.


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