Miami-Dade County has a New Fertilizer Ordinance!

The ordinance creates Chapter 18C of the Code of Miami-Dade County (Code) as the “Miami Dade County Ordinance for Florida-Friendly Fertilizer Use on Urban Landscapes” to minimize the negative environmental effects from the misuse and overuse of fertilizers on urban landscapes. This ordinance will establish minimum standards for the County to (1) regulate the proper use of fertilizers by any applicator; (2) require proper training of commercial and institutional fertilizer applicators; (3) establish training and licensing requirements; (4) establish a prohibited application period; and (5) specify allowable fertilizer application rates/methods, fertilizer-free zones, low maintenance zones, and exemptions.


This ordinance also promotes educational campaign to encourage compliance and better educate County residents, property owners, and fertilizer applicators about the importance of the proper application of fertilizer. The possible benefits to the community include the reduction in costs of fertilizer, the potential cost savings by reducing the need for large-scale mitigation of impaired water bodies, and the improved water quality of water bodies that would allow more recreational and commercial opportunities. The possible burdens to the community include individuals’ time spent becoming informed or trained in the proper use of fertilizers and the loss of commercial fertilizer application business during the proposed prohibited application period.

Important Details:

  • Establishes an annual period between May 15 and October 31 during which fertilizer with nitrogen and phosphorus would be prohibited (restricted period).
  • Fertilizer shall not be applied within 20 feet of any water bodies (fertilizer-free zone).
  • Encourage (voluntary) a “low maintenance zone” of 10 feet around any water body.
  • Limitation on nitrogen: no more than 4 lbs. per 1,000 s.f. per year. No more than 1 lbs. per 1,000 s.f. per application of solid fertilizer and no more than .5 lbs. per 1,000 s.f. per application of liquid fertilizer. Fertilizer must contain more than 65% slow-release nitrogen (SLN).
  • Prohibits using fertilizer containing phosphorus unless a soil test shows a phosphorus deficiency at the location where it is to be applied.
  • Spreader deflector shields are required when applying via rotary (broadcast) spreader.
  • Grass clippings and other vegetative material shall not be blown off into stormwater drains or water bodies.
  • Each commercial and institutional applicator shall successfully complete the UF/IFAS Florida Friendly Best Management Practices for Protection of Water Resources (GI-BMP) six hours training prior to obtaining or renewing a local business tax certificate.
  • Violations may be punished by fines in accordance with the ordinance.
  • Educational campaign will be offer to educate and inform.


Full content of the ordinance at

UF/IFAS Florida Friendly Best Management Practices Program,


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Posted: May 5, 2021

Category: Agriculture, Coasts & Marine, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Home Landscapes, Horticulture, Lawn, NATURAL RESOURCES, Turf, UF/IFAS Extension, Water
Tags: Best Management Practices, Fertilizer, Fertilizer Ordinance, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Training, Water Quality

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