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Fertilize Responsibly

Protect our springs, lakes and rivers

Orange County’s Fertilizer Management Ordinance applies to us all. If your fall lawn care regimen includes nitrogen fertilizer, make sure it stays in the ground where it’s needed and isn’t washed away into storm drains to pollute our local water bodies.

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Why Are We Regulating Fertilizer Use?

Many fertilizers contain nitrogen and phosphorus, also known as nutrients. Pollution from nutrients harms our natural waterbodies – springs, lakes and rivers – by causing algae blooms and poor water quality. How does nutrient pollution get there? When yards are over-fertilized, the excess nitrogen and phosphorus flow with rainwater into the same stormwater system designed to keep your property and roads from flooding during heavy rain. By doing something as simple as choosing fertilizer carefully and applying it properly, together we can make a big impact on the health of our natural water bodies.

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Ordinance Requirements in Effect June 1, 2022

Restricted Season: June 1 - September 30

No fertilizer containing nitrogen or phosphorus may be applied in Orange County from June 1 through September 30.

October 1 - May 31
  • Applying fertilizer with phosphorus is prohibited unless a soil test shows a phosphorus deficiency in that area.
  • If fertilizer with nitrogen is used, at least 65% of the nitrogen must be slow-release type.
  • No more than 1 pound of total nitrogen may be applied per 1,000 square feet of landscape.
  • No lawn may receive more than 3 pounds of total nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of landscape.
Year-round
  • All areas of property covered by lawn, turf and landscape plants are subject to the fertilizer ordinance.
  • Deflector shields must be in place when broadcast spreaders are used next to streets, inlets, ditches, conveyances and waterways.
  • No fertilizer or grass clippings shall be deposited on streets, driveways or in storm drains.
  • No fertilizer can be applied within 25 feet from waterways.
  • Application sites should maintain a 10-foot low maintenance zone – planted area with no fertilizing, mowing or maintenance – adjacent to water bodies.
  • No fertilizer shall be applied when the National Weather Service issues any advisory for severe thunderstorm, flood, tropical storm or hurricane.
Commercial and Institutional Applicator Requirements

Commercial Applicators

Trained applicator decal
  • Commercial applicators are required to take the Green Industries Best Management Practices (GI-BMP) training, and have a valid FDACS Limited Commercial Fertilizer Applicator Certificate.
  • Proof of licensing must be provided to Orange County Tax Collector in order to obtain an Orange County local business tax certificate for businesses that provide landscape services.
  • Applicators must show proof of compliance by displaying decals on vehicles used during application.
  • Commercial applicators who need decals can contact fertilizer@ocfl.net with proof of licensing to have decals mailed to their business.

Institutional Applicators

Trained institutional applicator decal
  • Institutional applicators (individuals who apply fertilizer as part of job duties) are required to have a valid Green Industries Best Management Practices (GI-BMP) Training Certificate.
  • Applicators must show proof of compliance by displaying decals on vehicles used during application.
  • Institutional applicators who need decals can contact fertilizer@ocfl.net with proof of training to have decals mailed to their business.
Retail Businesses
  • Retail businesses that sell fertilizer must display a notice provided by Orange County regarding the ordinance.
  • Retailers who need posters can contact fertilizer@ocfl.net to have posters mailed to their business.
Violations

Any violations of this ordinance are subject to prosecution in accordance with Chapter 11, including monetary penalties.

Contact Us

Orange County Environmental Protection Division
3165 McCrory Place, Suite 200
Orlando, FL 32803

Email: fertilizer@ocfl.net
Phone: (407) 836-1400
Fax: (407) 836-1499

All e-mail sent to this address becomes part of Orange County public record. Comments received by our e-mail subsystem can be read by anyone who requests that privilege. In compliance with "Government in the Sunshine" laws, Orange County Government must make available, at request, any and all information not deemed a threat to the security of law enforcement agencies and personnel.