Indian River County Florida
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Indian River County Fertilizer Ordinance

The Indian River Lagoon is experiencing nutrient pollution, caused by fertilizer and other nitrogen sources. We are working through civic, government, and industry stakeholder groups to develop solutions to return our lagoon to a healthier state. On Aug. 20, 2013, the Indian River County Board of County Commissioners approved an ordinance regulating the use of fertilizers containing nitrogen and/or phosphorus within Indian River County, Fertilizer and Landscape Management Ordinance No. 2013-012 as later amended by Ordinance No. 2013-014. This page is a summary of those ordinances.

Be Floridian Now Campaign

Learn how to live "Florida Friendly" and protect the Lagoon with Be Floridian Now!

Look for our flock of Felix flamingos around town to remind people to not fertilize and protect our Indian River Lagoon.


General Fertilizer Requirements

  • Fertilizer cannot be applied
    • Between June 1 and September 30,
    • To saturated soils,
    • When a Flood/Tropical Storm/Hurricane Watch or Warning is in effect for any part of the County;
    • or when rainfall greater than two inches in a 24 hour period is likely.
  • Fertilizer shall not be applied within ten feet of any wetland or water body or from the top of a seawall. Newly planted turf and/or landscape plants may be fertilized in this zone only between 30 and 90 days after planting and only if necessary.
  • No phosphorous shall be used without the proper soil or plant tissue deficiency test.
  • Until May 31, 2014, fertilizer with nitrogen shall contain at least 25% slow release nitrogen. Beginning June 1, 2014, fertilizer with nitrogen shall contain at least 50% slow release nitrogen.
  • Packaged fertilizer must be applied in accordance with the requirements on the labels.
  • Fertilizer shall not be applied before seeding or sodding a site or within the first 30 days.
  • Spreader deflector shields are required when fertilizing using rotary spreaders.
  • Fertilizer shall not be applied, spilled, or otherwise deposited on any impervious surfaces.
  • Fertilizer shall not go into stormwater drains, ditches, conveyances, or water bodies.
  • Grass clippings, vegetative material or debris shall not go into stormwater drains, ditches, conveyances, water bodies, wetlands, sidewalks or roadways.


  • bona fide farm operations or properties that have pastures used for grazing livestock;
  • lands used for bona fide scientific research;
  • golf courses when landscaping is performed pursuant to the best management practices;
  • athletic fields at public parks and school facilities; or
  • vegetable gardens and trees grown for their edible fruit.

Licensing for Applicators

  • Commercial Fertilizer and Institutional Fertilizer Applicators are required to complete the six-hour training program in the "Florida-friendly Best Management Practices for Protection of Water Resources by the Green Industries" offered by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection through the University of Florida Extension "Florida-Friendly Landscapes" program, or an approved equivalent.
  • Owners for any category of occupation which may apply fertilizer shall provide proof of successfully completing the necessary training program, prior to obtaining an Indian River County Local Business Tax Receipt.
  • Commercial Fertilizer Applicators shall provide proof of completion of the appropriate training program to the Indian River County Tax Collector's Office by April 11, 2014.
  • After December 31, 2013, all Commercial Fertilizer Applicators shall carry in their possession evidence of certification when applying fertilizer.

Applicability and Effective Date

  • These regulations apply in the unincorporated areas of the County.
  • These regulations go into effect on October 14, 2013.