Cape Coral finding new ways to explain upcoming fertilizer ordinance

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Matthew Seaver

Preventing harm to our waterways is the goal of Cape Coral’s fertilizer ordinance. You can’t use any fertilizer with nitrogen or phosphorus on your lawn.

A few years ago, there was confusion about the rules, so now the city is trying out new ways of spreading the word about the upcoming regulations.

Green lawns feed green waters. That is the message from the City of Cape Coral ahead of its fertilizer ordinance. Effective Wednesday, June 1, no one in the Cape can use nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizers. This year, it’s especially critical people in the Cape understand that.

“We do have this massive growth and a lot of people moving down here from out of state where they may have no experience with having a fertilizer ban or restriction,” said Melissa Mickey, communications manager for the City of Cape Coral.

As usual, the city is putting up signs throughout the city and billboards by the Cape Coral and Midpoint bridges, but it’s also trying something new.

Cape Coral will be sending messages through the Lee County School District and handing out flyers at stores like Home Depot and Lowes.

“As you’re checking out, the cashier, if you’re not doing self-checkout, will stick a bag stuffer in there, and you’ll have one of our fliers. That’s a really easy way to understand the reasoning for the ban and also what is and isn’t permitted during that timeframe,” said Mickey.

The ordinance is complex, and there was some confusion back in 2019 when it wasn’t specified which fertilizers were prohibited. This time, Cape Coral is confident everyone will get the message.

“If we have canals just filled up with green algae, I don’t think that’ll be great for the economy either. People don’t want to live around an area that smells or it’s hard to breathe,” said Mickey.

It’s important to note the distance between a body of water and fertilizer is now 15 feet, and no fertilizer is allowed if a flood, tropical storm, hurricane watch, or warning is in effect

The ordinance lasts until Sept. 30.

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