Fertilizer Regulations

The Florida-friendly fertilizer use on urban landscapes ordinance was adopted in April 2021.

Fertilizer is an important tool that is used in the agricultural industry and to support the production of food. Fertilizers are also used on lawns and landscaping on residential and commercial properties throughout our urban landscape.  However, fertilizers contain nutrients that can be harmful to aquatic and marine systems such as lakes, canals and especially Biscayne Bay.  Excess nutrients from our urban watershed including fertilizers impact the health of Biscayne Bay, and nutrient pollution has contributed to seagrass die-offs and algal blooms in the Bay. This ordinance was developed to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus entering our sensitive water resources and to improve the health of Biscayne Bay.

You can do your part to help protect Biscayne Bay by following these important steps to reduce excess nutrients and avoid improper or overuse of fertilizers. The fertilizer ordinance uses the following general guidelines, but you should always check for specific requirements and details. Additional details on specific regulations are provided below.  

  • The use of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer is prohibited during the summer rainy season, May 15 - Oct. 31, when nutrients are more likely to be carried in water flowing off the urban landscape
  • Application of fertilizer near surface water bodies such as canals, wetlands, lakes or the Bay is prohibited
  • Do not use phosphorus containing fertilizer unless a soil test determines that it is actually needed
  • Limit the amount of nitrogen you apply at any one time or during the year
  • Manage yard clippings to prevent them from affecting streets, sidewalks, stormwater drainage systems or water bodies
  • If you apply fertilizers as part of your job, get trained on the best management practices that help protect water resources.

These regulations apply throughout Miami-Dade County including within municipalities. Check the laws within your municipality for additional restrictions.

The County’s fertilizer regulations do not apply to bona fide farm operations, livestock grazing pastures, use on food gardens, golf courses or certain athletic fields.

Contact the Department of Regulatory & Economic Resources Division of Environmental Resources Management (DERM) with questions about this ordinance by emailing [email protected].


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