Fertilizer bans begin June 1 in Pinellas Co., Tampa

- Yards are lush and green in Pinellas County after weeks of rain, but anyone planning to take their lawn game to the next level with fertilizer is going to have to wait.

The county’s ban on fertilizer begins Friday.

Pinellas County officials have a strong warning about the damage fertilizers can do during the summer, even when the sun is shining.

"It’s not individual properties, but a collective impact," explained Kelli Levy with the Pinellas County Watershed Department.

Fertilizers containing nitrogen or phosphorous are not allowed between June 1 and September 30.

The chemicals get pushed into the bay during heavy rains and are harmful to the bodies of water in, and surrounding, the county. For this reason, the city of Tampa has the same type of ban.

Fertilizers have been blamed for algae blooms that dissolve oxygen and kill fish.

Charles Heverly lives along the water in St. Pete and says the ban, which first began in 2011, is working.

"The water was much worse than it is now. We don't want to go back," Heverly said, adding a message for those who abide by the rules. "Thank you, because you are making a difference."

The county agrees that the ban is working. Officials say harmful levels of the chemicals have gone down.

There are summer-approved, iron-based fertilizers available. County officials say iron fertilizers give yards a beautiful green without creating excess growth. That means you don't have to cut your grass as much.

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