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Hernando Fertilizer Rules Kick In on New Year’s Day

Hernando County | Fertilizer | Hernando Fertilizer

Among other things, the rules limit how much fertilizer can be applied from Jan. 1 through March 31.

HERNANDO COUNTY – A fertilizer ordinance goes into effect for Hernando County on Friday (Jan. 1).

The ordinance regulates how, where and when fertilizers can be applied to plants and grass. The ordinance includes a limited application season from January 1 through March 31 of each year. During this time period, only professional applicators who are trained, certified and registered according to the terms of the ordinance may apply fertilizer. The only forms of nitrogen fertilizer that may be applied during this period are those that are labeled as slow- or controlled-release. The applicator must be able to verify the fertilizer product used and provide the verification upon request.

Studies conducted by the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection have determined that the primary cause of water quality issues in Weeki Wachee Springs and the Weeki Wachee River comes from inappropriate fertilizer use. When applied incorrectly, excess nutrients wash off lawns into neighboring water bodies causing excessive algae growth and stressing aquatic insects, amphibians and fish.

Here are tips on how residents can help:

  • Do not fertilize your lawn from Jan. 1 through March 31 unless you hire a
    certified landscape professional.
  • Ask your fertilizer professional if he or she has a certificate of training
    through the Green IndustriesBest Management Practices Program. The ordinance
    requires a professional applicator to have that certificate of training by
    Jan. 1, 2014. In addition, he or she must register with the county by June 14,
  • Watch the weather and don’t fertilize when the National Weather Service
    calls for a heavy rain, flood, tropical storm or hurricane watch or warning or
    when the soil is still saturated.
  • Hold off fertilizing new plants, turf seeding or sod until at least 30 days
    after planting.
  • Do not fertilize within 10 feet of a water body without using a deflector
    shield, drop spreader or liquid applicator with a visible and sharply defined
    edge. It is recommended to use plants that don’t require fertilizer for these
  • Immediately clean up fertilizer that spills on your driveway, sidewalk or
    street. Never allow fertilizer, grass clippings, pet waste, plant debris,
    gasoline or oil to be washed, swept or blown off sidewalks or roadways into
    stormwater drains, ditches, canals, water bodies or wetlands.
  • Follow the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
    best management practices for landscapes. For information, contact the
    Hernando County UF Extension office at (352) 754-4433, or go to

Contact information:

  • Call the Hernando County UF/IFAS Extension office at (352) 754-4433 for information about the ordinance.
  • Go to to read the full ordinance. Search under Downloads and then the Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Program.
  • Call the Hernando County Permitting office at (352) 754-4050 if you are a professional applicator who needs to register with the county.

Hernando County | Fertilizer Ordinance | Fertilizer | Lawns | TB Reporter

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