Tag Archives: Fertillizers

“New Turf” –Scotts Phosphorus and Nitrogen Free Fertilizer/Adapting to an Educated Public, SLR/IRL

Scotts
As all fertilizer companies, Scotts has traditionally developed many products heavy in phosphorus and nitrogen, they are now producing products with no nitrogen and phosphorus. Amazing. (Public photo)

It is a good thing when one sees the market adapting to an educated public rather than fighting it.  For me, this is especially rewarding when it comes to adapting to a public educated on fertilizer use, and how it  negatively affects the health of our St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.

In 2010 the Town of Sewall’s Point passed the first “strong fertilizer ordinance” with a black out period on Florida’s east coast. A blackout period is a period when no fertilizer using phosphorus or nitrogen is allowed during a designated time frame that corresponds with South Florida’s rainy season. Due to fertilizers role in the destruction of waterways and increased harmful algae blooms, this idea first took shape on Florida’s west coast in 2007.

Although local governments can affect residential fertilizer, farmers are dealt with separately through the Dept. of Agriculture. So anyway—–

After Sewall’s Point, Martin County a much bigger player,  soon followed with a black out period and the domino effect ensued. River advocates worked tirelessly, and within about one year St Lucie, Indian River, parts of Brevard and Volusia counties, also along the lagoon, had jumped on board. The public showed they were willing to put “skin in the game” to achieve clean water. Many are rethinking “green lawns” in general…and becoming ever MORE EDUCATED.

Recently, Dianne Hughes, who works for Martin County, sent out an email announcing that Scotts Fertilizer would be launching a new “Florida-Friendly Lawn Supplement in Key Test Markets.” I would image this will include “us.” Dianne has worked very hard on promoting the BE FLORIDAN, a program thats model includes fertilizer education and a summer black out period. (http://befloridian.org)

A photo from DEP showing a yard along the North Fork of the SLR. In instances like this it is easy to see the negative effects of fertilizers.
A photo from DEP showing a yard along the North Fork of the SLR. In instances like this it is easy to see the negative effects of fertilizers on area waterways.

Dianne’s email read:

Scotts® Launches New Florida-Friendly Lawn Supplement in Key Test Markets

Scotts® Smarter Solutions for Cleaner Waterways Initiative Brings New Lawn Response™ Nitrogen and Phosphorus Free Product to Florida

West Palm Beach, FL (July 15, 2015) – As part of it’s Smarter Solutions for Cleaner Waterways initiative, ScottsMiracle-Gro, announced the launch of Scotts ®Lawn Response™, a nitrogen and phosphorus free lawn nutrient supplement that will help residents in communities with local fertilizer restrictions support the health of their landscapes. This new product is the latest addition to the Scotts® portfolio in Florida and is a lawn nutrient supplement that replenishes essential micro-nutrients for improved plant health. Produced in Florida and specifically for Florida lawns and gardens, Lawn Response™ is currently available in select areas of the state.

Designed to use on any grass type, outdoor plants and trees, Lawn Response™ is nitrogen and phosphorus free and is compliant for use throughout the year, even during the summer for communities that have localized fertilizer restrictions in place.

Interesting!

In 2013, Scotts also created a phosphorus free fertilizer: (http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2013/05/10/scotts-drops-phosphorus-from-lawn-fertilizer.html)

Kudos to Scotts for these changes. Kudos to Scotts for listening and adapting to the public. Kudos to Scotts for realizing you can still find a market and make money and protect the environment. I  won’t tell them though that I have not put any fertilizer on my almost grassless yard for over six years and it’s still green. 🙂

_________________________________________________________

FULL PRESS RELEASE:
For Immediate Release
Contact: Molly Jennings; (561) 681-7683
molly.jennings@scotts.com

Scotts® Launches New Florida-Friendly Lawn Supplement in Key Test Markets

Scotts® Smarter Solutions for Cleaner Waterways Initiative Brings New Lawn Response™ Nitrogen and Phosphorus Free Product to Florida

West Palm Beach, FL (July 15, 2015) – As part of it’s Smarter Solutions for Cleaner Waterways initiative, ScottsMiracle-Gro, announced the launch of Scotts ®Lawn Response™, a nitrogen and phosphorus free lawn nutrient supplement that will help residents in communities with local fertilizer restrictions support the health of their landscapes. This new product is the latest addition to the Scotts® portfolio in Florida and is a lawn nutrient supplement that replenishes essential micro-nutrients for improved plant health. Produced in Florida and specifically for Florida lawns and gardens, Lawn Response™ is currently available in select areas of the state.

Designed to use on any grass type, outdoor plants and trees, Lawn Response™ is nitrogen and phosphorus free and is compliant for use throughout the year, even during the summer for communities that have localized fertilizer restrictions in place.

“Last year we publicly committed to help create solutions for Florida’s one-of- a kind environment and the launch of Lawn Response ™ is part of that commitment. Several Florida communities concerned with excess nitrogen and phosphorus in local waterways have restricted the use of lawn fertilizers during the summer season. We recognize that nitrogen is an essential building block for all plant life and while there is no substitute, Lawn Response ™ gives residents a new lawn care option that will help to keep plants healthy, hearty and drought resistant“,” said Mark Slavens, ScottsMiracle-Gro Vice President of Environmental Affairs.

ScottsMiracle-Gro along with leading academic institutions have long agreed that by naturally filtering and storing water before it reaches stormwater treatment centers and local waterbodies, a healthy lawn promotes cleaner waterways. Lawn Response™ features a micro-nutrient packet that includes Iron, Potassium, Magnesium and Calcium, which can enhance greening and increases water efficiency.

Last year, ScottsMiracle-Gro’s “Smarter Solutions for Cleaner Waterways” initiative included a three-year, $5 million commitment to in-state water quality research, habitat restoration, consumer education and green infrastructure improvements. The company is supporting local independent research to determine the sources of pollution in the Indian River Lagoon; results from which will help create solutions to improve the lagoon’s water and wildlife, and create a model that can be replicated for other sensitive waterways. Through its partnerships with additional local partners, Scotts is helping to restore more than 20 acres of salt marsh plants will be restored in Tampa Bay, and supporting research on the Bay’s long-term environmental resiliency. Grants to community gardens, farms and greenspaces throughout Florida have protected more than 47,600 square feet of land. The addition of Lawn Response™ nutrient supplement is an extension of that initiative and demonstrates ScottMiracle-Gro’s continued commitment to Florida’s waterways.

The development of Scotts® Lawn Response™ is consistent with the company’s long history of innovation. Over the past several years, ScottsMiracle-Gro has developed products designed to preserve and protect the local water bodies by removing phosphorus from their Turf Builder® lawn maintenance products, and reducing the amount of total nitrogen while also increasing the amount of slow-release nitrogen in fertilizers. Additionally, the company has developed a SNAP® lawn care system that eliminates product pouring and possible spills and continues to make advances in product applicators, like EdgeGuard®, that help consumers apply the product correctly and on-target.

For more on the product launch and additional information on the Florida Smarter Solutions for Cleaner Waterways initiative, visit http://www.scotts.com/Florida.
About ScottsMiracle-Gro

With more than $2.8 billion in worldwide sales, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company is the world’s largest marketer of branded consumer products for lawn and garden care. The Company’s brands are the most recognized in the industry. In the U.S., the Company’s Scotts®, Miracle-Gro® and Ortho® brands are market-leading in their categories, as is the consumer Roundup® brand, which is marketed in North America and most of Europe exclusively by Scotts and owned by Monsanto. In the U.S., we operate Scotts LawnService®, the second largest residential lawn care service business. In Europe, the Company’s brands include Weedol®, Pathclear®, Evergreen®, Levington®, Miracle-Gro®, KB®, Fertiligène® and Substral®. In 2015, the Company ranked in Forbes 100 Most Reputable Companies in America. For additional information, visit us at http://www.scottsmiraclegro.com.

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Molly Jennings ·
This email was sent to DHughes@martin.fl.us.

Why A 4-Year-Old Can Tell You That Our Fertilizer Ordinances are Working, SLR/IRL

"Be Floridian. Don't Fertilize." Photo adapted from Beauty of Nature photos sent to me by Anna Marie Wintercorn, 2015. (http://mp.weixin.qq.com/s?__biz=MjM5MjE0NTQ4Mw==&mid=200115697&idx=6&sn=74ffa17c3f3374553c6261be656fbb15&scene=1&from=groupmessage&isappinstalled=0#rd)
“Be Floridian. Don’t Fertilize.” Photo adapted from “Beauty of Nature” photos sent to me by Anna Marie Wintercorn, 2015.*

The “Be Floridian” program was born over a decade ago of the Tampa Bay area. This program has many elements, but most noteworthy is that “strict” fertilizer ordinances evolved collaboratively along the counties and cities of Florida’s “southerly” east coast.

Today, Tampa Bay has more seagrass than it did in the 1940s. This is in spite of the area’s high population. Certainly, they have different issues than we, and “no Lake O,” but the goal is clear: “if they did it there; we can do it here…improve our waters.”

On Florida’s east coast, in 2010,  the peninsular Town of Sewall’s Point, my community,  was the first to implement in a strong fertilizer ordnance. With the 2011-2013 melt down of the Indian River Lagoon due to super-algae blooms killing approximately 60% of the northern/central lagoon’s seagrasses, and the toxic “Lost Summer” of excessive dumping from Lake Okeechobee and area canals along the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, communities all along the Indian River pushed their governments to implement strong fertilizer ordinances. —Making a statement that they were “fed-up” with dead waters, and were willing themselves to put “skin in the game.”

In case you don’t know, there are variations, but basically a “strong fertilizer ordinance” is one that does not allow fertilization with phosphorus and nitrogen during the summer rainy/hurricane season.

Recently there was an article in the “Stuart News” asking the question of whether or not these strong fertilizer ordinances are “working” along the IRL. The expert on hand replied it is “too soon to tell…”

I beg to differ, and here is why.

Of course they are working.

A four-year old can tell you they are  working.

Ad in Stuart News. Martin County has a strong fertilizer ordinance and is now promoting the BE FLORIDIAN program here in Martin County. Dianne Hughes and Deb Drum deserve applause for these great ads, 2015.
Ad in Stuart News. Martin County has a strong fertilizer ordinance and is now promoting the BE FLORIDIAN program here in Martin County. Dianne Hughes and Deb Drum deserve applause for these great ads, 2015.

I use this analogy a lot when discussing Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades Agricultural Area’s 700,000 acres south of the lake blocking the natural flow of water from the northern estuaries to the Everglades.

In spite of the sugar and vegetable empires south of the lake trying to convince us that it is water from Orland and the Kissimmee River killing our St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, any four-year old studying the River Kidz program will point to the area directly south of the lake as biggest problem forcing the water up and out the estuaries rather than allowing it to flow south as nature intended…We need a third outlet south of the lake. There is too much water to hold it all north. End of story. I don’t need a study to tell me this. I know it. A four-year old knows it. You know it.

Back to fertilizer….last night it rained hard here in Sewall’s Point. My rain gauge says two inches. Seemed like more than that. If my yard had been fertilized of course that fertilizer would have gone into the gutter and down the drain and into the Indian River Lagoon. You can go out and watch this from my driveway.

It must be noted that until the ACOE and SFWMD (collaborating at the direction of our government) stop dumping from the lake and out over expanded canals, we will never know our “area’s” levels of phosphorus and nitrogen.

For example, the ACOE began releasing into our SLR/IRL this January and just stopped a few weeks ago, so if a scientist had done her or her study recently, they would be measuring nutrients that came into our river from “other places” too.

But we, here, are doing our part and can feel good about this…keeping our house in order will help push order in the houses of the state and federal governments that are presently quite un-orderly.

Enforcement? Let’s focus on education. As we can see. It’s working! Five years ago people weren’t even aware that fertilizer was an “issue.”

As a sidebar before I close, I recently had the pleasure of meeting Mr Woody Woodraska who headed the SFWMD in the 1980s before it was  under the anvil of the governor and the state legislature. The topic of visiting Cuba arose. My husband Ed and I will be visiting Cuba this fall with our church, St Mary’s.

Mr Woodraska said: “Oh, you are going to love it..”

In the course of telling his story visiting as a competitor in the Ernest Hemingway competition, he alluded to Cuba’s long repressed economy and how this kept fertilizers, via the agriculture industry, from ruining  Cuba’s waters, fish and wildlife. Thus overall, Cuba’s waters are healthy and beautiful today.

We here in Florida, on the other hand, have developed every piece of land right up to edge of every river, some with septic tanks, and torn out the native plants and replaced with plants that we must fertilize; agriculture is a corporate producer going through literately tons of fertilizer every day; canals not only to drain our land, but  we build houses along them; a turf grass industry flourishes in South Florida that sells 25% of all turf-grass in the WORLD; wonderful universities, like my alma mater and family connected University of Florida, do research and watch the industry’s back to “keeping our economy rolling!”

Yeah…rolling right over our fish, and our wildlife, and over ourselves as we see our own economy suffering from dirty waters.

Whew. I need a cup of coffee.

Sorry to be so opinionated, but I just can’t stand it. Fertilizer that is. In fact I have a file on my computer called DEATH BY FERTILIZER. Here are some pictures; thanks for reading my rant, have a good day, and I will not say “happy fertilizing!”   🙂

Grass going right over edge of canal....photo DEP.
Grass going right over edge of canal….photo DEP.
Ag runoff DEP photo.
Ag runoff from fields into canals DEP photo.
An ad running on the west coast of Florida in the area of Lee County, put together with the collaboration of interested parties and local governments, 2014. (Shared by former council lady Marsha Simmons, Bonita Springs.)
An ad from the west coast of Florida, 2014.
When it rains hard all runoff from yards goes into the SLR/IL taking fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides with it. This kills seagrasses and animal life. (JTL)
When it rains a lot all runoff from yards goes into the SLR/IL taking fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides with it. This kills seagrasses by supporting algae blooms Animal and fish suffer. (JTL)
Ad west coast near springs.
Ad west coast near springs.
Ad on bus west coast or Gainesville.
Ad on bus west coast or Gainesville.
River Kidz protest Florida legislature's trying to outlaw local governments from creating stricter fertilizer ordinances than the states. 2012. (Nic Mader)
River Kidz protest Florida legislature’s trying to outlaw local governments from creating stricter fertilizer ordinances than the states. 2012. (Nic Mader)

 

RK artwork  2011. Save the dolphins. Fertilizer is not good for their skin or for the fish they eat.
RK artwork 2011. Save the dolphins. Fertilizer is not good for their skin, or seagrasses needed by the fish they eat.

BE FLORIDIAN: (http://befloridian.org)

MARTIN COUNTY’S FERTILIZER ORD. (http://www.martin.fl.us/portal/page?_pageid=73,4448073&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL)

The National Research Council’s book “Clean Coastal Waters, Understanding and Reducing the Effects of Nutrient Pollution,” National Academy’s Press, 2000, is the best book I have read on this subject. It can be ordered on line.

*Photo of Flamingo, source: (http://mp.weixin.qq.com/s?__biz=MjM5MjE0NTQ4Mw==&mid=200115697&idx=6&sn=74ffa17c3f3374553c6261be656fbb15&scene=1&from=groupmessage&isappinstalled=0#rd)

C-23 and its Destruction of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

Bessey Creek in 1965, is the exiting point for C-23 into the St Lucie River. The canal was  built between 1959 and  1961.
Bessey Creek and a newly constructed C-23 photographed in 1965. The creek  is the exiting point for C-23 into the St Lucie River. The canal was built between 1959 and 1961. As development of the surrounding lands has increased so has the pollution from the canal. (Photo archives of Sandra Thurlow)

There are three destructive canals that empty into the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, C-44 built in the 1920s, and  C-23 and C-24, built later, between 1959 and 1961. They all over time have destroyed the health and integrity of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.

C-23 is the canal that boarders northern Martin and southern St Lucie Counties. It was built by the Army Corp of Engineers as part of the Central and and South Florida Flood Control Project that came into being in a “second” gigantic  round of federal funds invested in Florida after a hurricane and extreme flooding in 1947 because, basically, people had built and started farming in areas throughout south Florida that were wetlands or swamps.  The goal of the canal was to divert waters that would have “gone south,” and possibly even north into the St John’s River to the eastern, coastal waters.  As usual, the ACOE  was very successful at the complete cost of the environment.

Thus the C-23 canal drains a 175 square foot basin that includes parts of Okeechobee and St Lucie Counties that originally did not run into the St Lucie River. Once drained, these lands were primarily developed into citrus groves and other agriculture . According to the Department of Environmental Protection, the “urban land use, at the eastern end of the basin, includes solid waste disposal; light industrial, and golf courses.”

C-23 is a filthy canal. It delivers suspended solids, nutrients, fertilizers, and pesticides such as ethion, norflurazon, simazine, bromacil. Metals such as copper and  lead have also been found in the surrounding sediments with concentrations high enough to “constitute toxicity” to fish, seagrasses,  and other animals. You may recall even recently in the news,  a sheepshead, with a huge pink tumor caught right in this area. DEP (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/c23.pdf); Tumored fish(http://martincountytimes.com/fish-with-large-tumor-on-head-found-in-palm-citys-bessey-creek-near-st-lucie-estuary)

My middle school aged niece, Mary, lives across the canal in North River Shores;  she chose to do her science fair project on the C-23 this year and found that the canal had the highest level of phosphorus of the three canals. As she grows up, her generation will be working to fix our and our grandparents’ over zealous accomplishments and mistakes. Although our federal, state and local government claims that we’re “working on getting the water right,” it seems like we could do more and a little faster to help them… 

photo