Water-Related News

Rules prohibit fertilizer use in summer in parts of Southwest Florida

LEE COUNTY — As Southwest Florida struggles to fight algae blooms and red tide this summer, one of the big problems is improper fertilization of lawns, which is helping algae grow and bloom in our canals.

Scientists say the fertilizer used to help your grass grow can seep into our groundwater and canals when it rains.

Each county and most cities have its own fertilizer rules. Here’s a look at some local ordinances.


  • Fertilizers containing Nitrogen (N) and/or Phosphorus (P) may not be applied on turf and/or landscape plants from June 1 through September 30.
  • No fertilizers should be deposited, intentionally or accidentally, on an impervious surface such as a driveway, sidewalk or street.
  • No fertilizers shall be applied on turf and/or landscape plants within ten (10) feet of a water body, seawall or wetland.
  • When using a rotary spreader, use of a deflector shield is required to deflect fertilizers away from water bodies, seawalls and wetlands.

More info for Lee County


Adopted in 2008, the ordinance says Fertilizers containing nitrogen and phosphorus CANNOT:

  • Be applied during the rainy season (July 1 through September 30)
  • Be applied within 25 feet of a body of water
  • Be applied to impervious (hard) surfaces, such as roads, driveways and sidewalks
  • Be dumped into a storm drain

More info for Sanibel

CAPE CORAL (adopted in 2010)

  • No fertilizer containing nitrogen or phosphorus may be used within 10 feet of the top of a seawall or any water body, except by hand dispersion.
  • No fertilizer containing nitrogen or phosphorus may be applied to turf or landscape plants between June 1 and September 30, or if a Flood Watch or Warning, Tropical Storm Watch or Warning, or Hurricane Watch or Warning is in effect.

More info for Cape Coral

CHARLOTTE COUNTY (approved in 2008)

  • You cannot apply fertilizer that has any nitrogen or phosphorous in it between June 1st and September 30th.

More Charlotte County info

PUNTA GORDA (approved in 2012)

  • No fertilizer containing nitrogen and/or phosphorus shall be applied during the rainy season, (June 1st through September 30th).
  • Fertilizer may not be applied to a single area more the six times a year
  • No fertilizer shall be applied within ten (10) feet, or three feet if a deflector shield is used, of any pond, stream, water course, lake, retention area, drain and drainage ditches, canal, any wetland, or top of seawalls

More info for Punta Gorda