Sarasota County officials are encouraging residents to get out and enjoy living in paradise this summer and skip some of the yard work.

This summer county officials are urging residents to protect the bay by not using fertilizer products containing nitrogen and phosphorus. Stormwater washes excess fertilizer into storm drains, transporting the nitrogen and phosphorus into the bay. Nitrogen and phosphorus can fuel excessive growth of algae, which smother natural vegetation. Nitrogen and phosphorus can also cause invasive weeds to flourish, changing Florida’s natural plant communities.

“People should be able to enjoy their summer by heading to the beach, going fishing or boating,” said Sarasota County Environmental Specialist Amanda Dominguez. “No one wants to be doing yard work in the summer and the great news is you don’t need to use fertilizer in order to have a healthy yard.”

Beginning June 1 through Sept. 30, no fertilizer containing nitrogen or phosphorous may be used on lawns or

plants in unincorporated Sarasota County. Homeowners should follow these tips to maintain a healthy lawn while protecting the bay:

•mow grass as high as possible with a mulching mower
•don’t over-water turf and plants
•install a soil moisture sensor to determine when to water
•keep fertilizer at least 10 feet from any water’s edge
•create a low-maintenance zone of landscape plants near the water’s edge to prevent fertilizer runoff

For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 941-861-5000 or visit keyword search “fertilizer.”