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Fertilize smart

June 21, 2019
By JOYCE COMINGORE - Garden Club of Cape Coral , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

By JOYCE COMINGORE

news@breezenewspaprs.com

Fertilize smart, just don't do it now. Do the right thing. It's time to remind everyone, Cape Coral's Fertilizer Ordinance No. 86-10 passed on Nov. 29, 2010, regulating the use of fertilizers in the city is now in effect. Excess nutrients impact the water quality in our canal system. These nutrients lead to algae blooms, decreased oxygen levels, and fish kill. These regulations apply to private residents as well as commercial applicators. Residents are encouraged to, but not required to, learn about our Florida-friendly landscaping practices. Commercial applicators are required to earn certification in Best Management Practices. Look for their BMP Ordinance decals. Be sure they use a minimum 50 percent slow release nitrogen fertilizer product, have a shield on all broadcast spreaders and leave no grass clippings on the roadway, sidewalks and storm drains, and promote low maintenance "buffer" zones along canals and lakes.

Dos and don'ts are - No fertilizer containing nitrogen and/or phosphorus may be applied to turf or landscape plants between June 1 and Sept. 30 Folks, we are there, and it's the law! No fertilizercontaining nitrogen and/or phosphorous may be used within 10 feet of the top of the seawall or any body of water, canals, lakes, wetlands, ponds, stream or water courses, except by hand dispersal. The intent is to ensure no material ends up in the water body and only plant roots in the area are fertilized.

At least 50 percent of the nitrogen in fertilizer must be slow-release form, no more than 4 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet may be applied to any area in a calendar year, and that it be applied at the lowest rate necessary.

Any fertilizer ending up on an impervious surface must be immediately contained and removed to be stored or applied appropriately. It may not be swept, washed or blown off the impervious surfaces into any water bodies, this includes storm drains. Deflector shields must be used on spreaders and positioned so granules are deflected away from fertilizer free zones, impervious surfaces, and water bodies. No grass, clippings, vegetative material or debris may be swept or blown into storm water drains, ditches, conveyances, water bodies, sidewalks or roadways.

Commercial and institutional applicators must successfully complete the six-hour training program in the "Florida Friendly Best Management Resources by the Green Industries" offered by the University of Florida Extension Service.

Enforcement will occur through the city of Cape Coral's Code Compliance Division Officers. We all remember the horrible smell and sight of our green algae loaded canals this past spring. Saw a bumper sticker saying, "Perfect grass = dead manatee." Do your part in helping; any questions, contact the city of Cape Coral Environmental Resources Division at 239-574-0785. Florida Friendly Landscape classes are available by taking a class through the city's Parks Department or from Lee County Extension Service.

Exemptions to the rules are: newly established landscape plants for a 60-day period beginning 30 days after planting, using caution to keep vegetation out of water; vegetable gardens kept more than 15 feet from water; yard waste composts, mulches or other materials that are primarily organic and applied to improve the physical condition of the soil; lands used for bona fide farming pasture or scientific research; and golf courses that follow BMP practices for golf courses as provided by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Public health alert: On Monday, June 24, 5:30- 9 p.m., at the Broadway Palm Theatre, 1380 Colonial Blvd., Fort Myers, there will be a movie, buffet dinner, expert panel and Q &A. The Florida Water Summit will present the film "Toxic Puzzle" narrated by Harrison Ford with Dr. Walter Bradley, neurology department chair, University of Miami, and Dr. Larry Brand marine biologist with John Cassani, Calusa Waterkeeper, leading the discussion. Learn why public health is a serious concern; how to protect yourself, loved ones and pets; where to go for important updates; and what you can do to make a difference. A $20 donation can be purchased online at calusawaterkeeper.org. Calusa Waterkeeper is the Waterkeeper Alliance member representing the Caloosahatchee River, Estero Bay, Charlotte Harbor and Lake Okeechobee. Calusa Waterkeeper is the new name for Caloosahatchee River Citizens Association (Riverwatch) created in 1995.

We will be having a dry weekend, the weatherman says. We have arrived at the rainy season. I am starting to accumulate puddles of standing water -- even a spoonful of standing water can contain plenty of mosquito larvae, therefore, mosquitoes are abounding and the swimming larvae wriggle into live ones. Can't sit long at my front porch. Throughout the years, mosquitoes have transmitted many diseases -- malaria, dengue, yellow fever, encephalitis and now West Nile and Zika viruses. Mosquitoes even bring heartworm to dogs, so it's not just the itchy bites, it is health concerns for family and pets.

Empty or drain those breeding grounds.

The best mosquito repelling plants are ones with their natural fragrances that can keep away those annoying mosquitoes from sitting areas, and benefit your health when you grow certain flowers, nearby.

Lavender fragrance has essential oils found on its leaves, it is believed the wonderful fragrance of the lavender oil hinders a mosquito's ability to smell. Marigolds and their repelling fragrance in bordering your vegetable garden not only keep bugs out, but repels mosquitoes. Citronella grass is a known fragrance that repels mosquitoes. I grew catnip when I had a cat and found it repelled mosquitoes. A study at Iowa State University found catnip mint to be 10 times more effective than DEET. Rosemary's scent not only keep mosquitoes away, but cabbage moths and carrot flies. Basil does the trick, also. Scented geraniums, with the favored scent being lemon, reminding one of citronella, keep several types of pests away. Herbs are more than tasty, they can protect us.

Keep the pests away and you can stay enjoy the fragrances.

Joyce Comingore is a Master Gardener, hibiscus enthusiast and member of the Garden Cub of Cape Coral.

 
 
 

 

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