It is shocking how many people involved in the fertilizer ordinance have no idea this license requirement even exists.

There’s extra to the fertilizer story

5 minutes, 32 seconds Read

Town of Marco Island has a fertilizer ordinance that was mentioned for a few years earlier than being adopted. This concept was introduced forth again in 2008 and once more in 2011 ultimately being adopted in opposition to my repeated protests.

I ought to start by telling you that the State of Florida applied a brand new license certification requirement known as the “Restricted City Industrial Fertilizer Applicator Certification.” That is within the Florida Statutes below Chapter 482.1562.

All for-hire people who apply fertilizers to landscapes in residential, governmental or industrial constructions will need to have this license. In contrast to a industrial pest license this one states that particular person making use of will need to have this license in his or her pocket. There isn’t any supervision of a non-certified applicator allowed. Which means that any particular person making use of fertilizer anyplace within the state needed to take a check and get this license after which undergo persevering with training to resume it. 

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It’s stunning how many individuals concerned within the fertilizer ordinance do not know this license requirement even exists. I personally in my remaining years within the enterprise stopped fertilizing my landscapes because it meant I’d have needed to personally do the work or attempt to license my workers. This was a critical drawback since I appeared to be one of many few folks following the legislation on the island.

Watching the native information these days, I’m listening to increasingly more reference to sewage as the reason for the algae blooms after Hurricane Irma somewhat than the fertilizer use of residents. I suppose as they start extra testing the checks are displaying sewage traces.

In truth, the soiled authorized secret that nobody desires to speak about is that 88 million gallons of wastewater spilled into state waters, in accordance with the Division of Environmental Safety. Extra on this later.

Nitrogen will be deadly to life in our waterways. The ever rising “lifeless zone” on the mouth of the Mississippi River is a positive instance. Most of this overload comes from agriculture, sewage therapy vegetation and electrical energy vegetation. However it additionally comes from areas round our houses. A few of the sources could shock you. Whereas fertilizer is amongst them this checklist additionally contains family cleaners, pet and human waste, cars, garden instruments and on-lot septic techniques which our metropolis correctly changed with metropolis vast sewers.

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Family cleaners that include ammonia are on the checklist as a result of it’s a type of nitrogen. This checklist contains glass and oven cleaners or vinyl siding cleaners. Simply rinsing buckets and rags can ship nitrogen into the sewage therapy plant and most of those don’t deal with poisonous waste like family cleaners. Somebody cleansing their boat may put numerous waste right into a canal because the sprays turn into airborne.

Pet waste is one other downside changing into larger as extra folks transfer to Marco Island and have pets. As a garden care employee this can be a main downside that we should take care of day-after-day. It’s so dangerous I’ve contemplated writing about the issue in a column. Leaving cat or canine waste within the yard or on the swale or subject means leaving it to decay and be washed into storm sewers or drains and immediately into our waterways. It not solely accommodates ammonia however vitamins that gas weed and algae progress and illness making our water unsafe for ingesting or swimming. Human waste is one other kind of waste which is displaying up in our gardens and pure areas round Marco Island.

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Vehicles and garden gear are in all probability stunning sources. Airborne nitrogen is an actual downside being blamed for 30 to 40 % of nitrogen air pollution in some areas. When fossil fuels like gasoline are burned nitrogen, oxides are emitted after which remodeled into nitric acid within the environment which then falls to the earth and water our bodies. Add to that the runoff from our roads and parking tons taking the gas and oil with it into the canals.

And what concerning the reside aboard boats round Marco Island. Do now we have an ordinance in place to see that they’re correctly dumping their sewage?

Regulating fertilizing in our yards is not going to remedy the issue. In truth, some facets of the ordinance proposed will do extra hurt than good. The county and state pointers are simply that, pointers. The Metropolis of Marco Island desires to inform horticulturalists find out how to do their job when the science doesn’t add up. They’re harming our root techniques that are our filters. I wrote about this final week.

One of many issues they regulate is not any fertilizer inside 10 ft of a waterbody. The county says use a deflector defend when inside 3 ft of a waterbody. This makes extra sense than the ten ft our metropolis is saying no fertilizer will be utilized in any respect. Ten ft would imply many of the canal entrance houses on Marco Island couldn’t fertilize their lawns, shrubs and timber of their again yards. Why is {that a} dangerous factor? Esthetics apart roots are the primary and finest protection in opposition to pollution entering into the bottom water or waterways. In case you don’t fertilize these vegetation they are going to start to say no and die together with their valuable roots. Then the chemical substances folks could have utilized to their yards making an attempt desperately to have a horny panorama will go into the water. And chemical substances, that are as dangerous as or worse than fertilizer in our water, will not be regulated in any respect.

I may go on however I believe the purpose has been made. Our Fertilizer Ordinance is a “really feel good” ordinance with out the science to again it up. Depart the horticultural selections to the horticulturalists and proceed to coach the general public on methods to maintain all dangerous chemical substances out of the water. There are numerous different extra egregious habits placing nitrogen into our waterways and it isn’t useful to go after one business, particularly when the ordinance doesn’t comply with the science. The county ordinance is backed by science and Marco Island ought to undertake it.

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Eileen and Peter Ward have owned a panorama and garden upkeep firm for 35 years. Eileen will be reached at Gswdmarco@comcast.web or 239-394-1413. Learn previous columns at


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