Lakefront Fertilizer Guide

Many fertilizers contain nitrogen and phosphorus.  Excess nitrogen and phosphorus are known to cause excessive hydrilla growth, algae blooms, fish kills, and other water quality problems. Anyone applying fertilizer in Orange County should understand how to prevent pollution from the nutrients they spread on their landscape.

Orange County Lakefront Fertilizer Ordinance Requirements

Orange County has regulated fertilizer application since 2009 to help protect our lakes, rivers, springs and groundwater. This ordinance was updated in 2017. Lake County has a similar ordinance.

  • Stores that sell fertilizer must display information about our ordinance
  • Never use fertilizer containing phosphorus (unless a soil test proves it is needed)
  • Never use fertilizer containing nitrogen in summer months (trained people are exempt)
  • If you choose to apply fertilizer with nitrogen, make sure 50% is slow-release nitrogen type
  • Keep fertilizer more than 15 feet away from wetlands and water bodies
  • Use a broadcast fertilizer spreader that has a deflector shield up fertilizer that spills or could end up on sidewalks, driveways, or streets
  • Keep your grass clippings and yard debris out of roads, gutters, and storm drains
  • Ensure your landscape contractor complies with the fertilizer ordinance, too!

You can buy fertilizer that contains zero nitrogen or phosphorus. Look for products that contain minerals such as iron and magnesium, or are labeled as containing, “micronutrients”. When shopping for fertilizer, please use the following helpful information that is found on the fertilizer bag:

  • Where to use the fertilizer (turf, trees, plants?)
  • Percentage of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium
  • How much of the nitrogen is “slow-release” type
  • How much to apply
  • How much area your bag of fertilizer will cover
  • Which number to choose on your spreader dial

Required signage wherever fertilizer is sold

Soil Tests in Orange County

In Orange County, you must always get a soil test before applying fertilizer that contains phosphorus – all year long, not just during the rainy season. Contact the Orange County Agricultural Extension Service (also known as IFAS) for information about having your soil tested: 407-254-9200.

More Information


Together we can all help to keep Johns Lake clean and beautiful. Improper fertilizer application, over fertilizing, and fertilizing within fifteen feet of the lake shore or berm will cause long term problems.

Improper use of fertilizer is what caused Lake Apopka to become so polluted. So let’s not let this happen to Johns Lake!