Fertilizer Ban – Research Your Replacement Products

Some of you here in Florida, and other parts of the country may already know there is are fertilizer bans in certains places and manufacturers are phasing out products that contain phosphorus. Here in Pinellas County fertilizers containing nitrogen and/or phosphorus cannot be applied to lawns or landscape plants from June 1 to September 30.

That means some your long time favorite fertilizer and other products that contain phosphorus have been removed from the shelves of Lowes, Home Depot, etc. and replaced with phosphate free products. First off, you may still be able to find your favorite fertilizer at smaller stores, like ACE and such. But run, don’t walk. Usually, when a product is deemed not fit for public consumption smaller stores take longer to run out of their stock and it remains on the shelves for months, even years(remember Diazinon?) . However I have heard that in the fertilizer ban case, county officials are actually going to stores and enforcing the ban.

So, you realize it’s too late, you’re stuck with the alternative, whatever that may be. Many products are being replaced with those we are not familiar with, made by companies we’ve never heard of. Before you just put in your cart and take it home, do some research. Don’t just assume that because the retailer put it on the shelf where the good stuff used to be, that it’s okay to use, or that the application or results will be the same. Read the labels carefully, and ask your friend or neighbors if they have used it.

Case in point: The St Augustine lawn fertilizer I have used for years, was removed from the shelves and replaced with something I never heard of. But it was the only alternative so I took it. I read the application method – same sthe other stuff. That evening I set the spreader, put it down, watered it in. Just like the other stuff. Then to my horror the next morning. there were orange streaks from the iron all over my driveway. The old stuff never did that. Yes there is rust remover for driveways, and yes it removes the stain – and leaves a bright white streak. So if you prefer orange streaks to white, don’t bother. I’m sure there was some tiny mention on the bag about not getting the product on walkways, etc. It was probably on the old stuff too. On the bright side, the lawn is nice and green.