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Counties urge residents to stop use of fertilizer ahead of rainy season

As we enter the rainy season and summertime, Lee County is urging folks to let their fertilizer go on summer vacation too.

Rick Molek of Thrifty Garden isn’t stingy with his gardening know-how.

“We always like to recommend first, if you’re just getting started, to go with natives, but we live in an area that can host all kinds of plants,” he said.

Molek wants to make sure his customers’ plants and our environment thrive.

“If you plant well, if you plant a diverse yard, if you are using appropriate planting practices, you’re really rarely going to need to add fertilizer,” he said.

While he says fertilizer is important for some plants, it’s vital to know when and how to use it.

“Don’t do it, certainly before rain or in the middle of a consistent rain period,” he said, because nutrients from fertilizer can run off into our waterways which, scientists say, can contribute to algal blooms.

That’s where fertilizer ordinances like Lee County’s come in.

“So specifically, there’s no use of phosphorous and nitrogen during the wet season,” said Lee County Natural Resources Division Operations Manager Kurt Harclerode.

This means no phosphorous or nitrogen from June 1 to Sept. 30.

“We think that educating the public, showing that link between fertilizer use and algae blooms is really the preferred way to go,” Harclerode said, all in an effort to protect Southwest Florida’s environment.

FERTILIZER RESOURCES

Reporter:Stephanie Byrne
Writer:Briana Harvath
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