When The Nitrogen Hits The Fan
Florida's turf fertilization program is a big mess. Finally someone has put their foot down about how IT's going to work (like it or not). I guarantee there is going to be a war about this ruling though.
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES
COMMISSIONER ADAM H. PUTNAM
What You Should Know About Recent Changes
to the Urban Turf Fertilizer Rule
On January 8, 2015 The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services adopted
changes to the statewide Urban Turf Fertilizer Rule SE-1.003 F.A.C. The changes were in
response to the culmination of 8 years of turf research conducted by the University of Florida,
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences turf scientists. This research was funded by the
Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
What are the notable changes to the Urban Turf Rule?
• Addition of the term "Actively Growing Turf"
Research demonstrated that timing of fertilizer applications is a key factor when
examining nutrient losses to the environment. Fertilizer should only be applied when
turf is actively growing.
• Increased nitrogen application rate to 2 pounds per 1000 sq. ft. in the spring and
• Limits nitrogen applications to 1 pound total nitrogen per 1000 sq. ft. during the fall or
• If a total controlled release form of nitrogen is applied, not more than 35 percent of the
nitrogen in the controlled release fertilizer can be released within the first 7 days after
• Modification to the nitrogen application recommendations in the "Annual Fertilization
• Recommendation to only apply to actively growing turf.
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o No application of nitrogen in the winter months in North Florida.
o Limits nitrogen applications rates to 1 pound per application in the fall and
winter months is central and south Florida.
o Reduced the maximum annual pounds of nitrogen for Zoysia grass.
• Included the following statements in the required precautionary language -
o "Apply only to actively growing turf"
• "Check with your local Cooperative Extension Agency to obtain specific information on
local turf best management practices"
o "Check with your county or city government to determine if there are local
regulations for fertilizer use"
• "Maximum" is no longer required for the coverage area statement on the front of the
bag. Now coverage area will suffice e.g. (This bag covers 4000 sq. ft.)
• Existing stock clause, licensees are granted 18 months to make the necessary label
The complete rule can be accessed at "link will be provided once published".
If you have questions or need additional information contact:
Environmental Specialist Ill
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Bureau of Scientific Evaluation and Technical Assistance
3125 Conner Boulevard, Building #6
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1650
Telephone: (850) 617-7883