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Residents seek fertilizer ban in face of red tide

During last week’s Sarasota City Commission meeting, more than a dozen residents asked the city to support a ban on fertilizers to help reduce future K. Brevis blooms, also known as red tide.

Scientists at Mote Marine Laboratory have noted that although red tide has been documented for centuries as a naturally occurring phenomenon, human activity can disrupt the balance and spark intense and longer-lasting blooms as the algae interacts with nutrient runoff near the coastline.

Fertilizer containing nitrogen or phosphorous is banned in Sarasota County during the rainy season, from June 1 to Sept. 30. During the rest of the year, applied fertilizer must contain 50 percent slow-release nitrogen.

The City recommends not fertilizing when heavy rain is expected and to adhere to a 10-foot no fertilizer zone near bodies of water. The City also suggests using Florida-friendly plants which require less fertilizer and pesticides and to use natural compost to enrich soil.

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