Institutional Applicators–Getting into compliance!

The Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to update the Orange County Fertilizer Applicators Ordinance during Spring 2022. Commercial, for hire, fertilizer applicators AND institutional fertilizer applicators that need to apply fertilizer as part of their job on a property they own, or is owned by their employer, are all required to be trained in Green Industries Best Management Practices (GI-BMP).

This GI-BMP training requirement could be new to some of you institutional fertilizer applicators. Here is some guidance about getting trained.

GI-BMP is a 6-hour training about best landscaping practices that protect water quantity and quality. Every prospective commercial or institutional fertilizer applicator in Orange County, Florida, is required to attend the 6-hour class and pass an exam with a 75% or higher score. Once you pass, you have your GI-BMP Certificate forever. Commercial, for hire applicators, have an additional step and must obtain a Limited Urban Fertilizer Applicators License in order to be a certified applicator. The class is available in a variety of formats and languages – English, Spanish, and Creole.

    1. On-demand online pre-recorded GI-BMP classes available in Spanish and English. No Q&A and no focus on local ordinance, but you will learn what is needed to pass the exam to be GI-BMP trained.
    2. Live Classes, in-person OR live virtual. Click “Class Detail” and contact the person listed to get actual class registration link. Live virtual class registration will close one week in advance of the training and will require additional steps on behalf of the trainee.

About the Ordinance

The reason we have fertilizer regulation is because water quality is measured and managed, and the pollution levels are too high. The nutrient pollution in water comes from a variety of sources. The biggest sources in Central Florida include septic tanks and landscape fertilizers. Landscape fertilizers contain nutrients necessary for healthy plant growth, but when those nutrients do not get used by the plant and they go into our water, those nutrients become pollution leading to algae blooms and fish kills. Nitrogen and phosphorus are the polluters, so the fertilizer ordinance aims at limiting nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer application.

June 1 – September 30:

  • Nitrogen and phosphorus containing fertilizer application prohibited for all

October 1 – May 31:

  • 65% of nitrogen must be in slow-release form
  • 0 phosphorus
  • Maximum 1 pound nitrogen/1000 square feet, not to exceed 3 pounds nitrogen/1000 square feet per year
  • Do not apply nitrogen before seeding or sodding a site or within the first 30 days after seeding or sodding a site


  • Broadcast spreaders must have deflector shield
  • Keep spilled fertilizer and grass clippings off pavement and away from drains. Clean up and collect spilled fertilizer and reapply into the landscape
  • Stay 25 feet back from natural bodies of water
  • Maintain a 10 foot low maintenance zone

What does this mean?

Any commercial or institutional fertilizer applicator in Orange County, Florida, will be required to be in compliance with fertilizer ordinance updates by 6/1/22.

If you want to apply potassium and micronutrients this summer as part of your job, you need to have the correct licensure. Institutional applicators require GI-BMP training and passing the exam, and for-hire commercial applicators need to take the additional step of obtaining an FDACS Limited Urban Fertilizer Applicator License. A lot of you commercial applicators have had training and license requirements for many years, but this process may be new to you institutional folks.

All applicators need to demonstrate compliance and display a “Trained Applicator” decal provided by Orange County on their vehicle.


Posted: May 10, 2022

Category: , Conservation, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Horticulture, Lawn, Natural Resources, Pests & Disease, Pests & Disease, Professional Development, Turf, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS Extension, Water, WORK & LIFE
Tags: Applicators, BMP, BMPs, CEU, CEUs, Cflandscapes, Class, Fertilizer, Fertilizer Applicator, Fertilizer Applicators, Fertilizer Ordinance, Florida, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Gibmp, Horticulture, Hwooten, Landscape, Landscape Bmps, Landscape Management, Lawn, Orange County, Ordinance

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