Why is fertilizing so expensive in South Florida?
Lawn care is very expensive especially in south Florida for four main reasons. For one Lawn fertilizer is the second most expensive lawn care product next to insecticides used extensively to maintain healthy lawns. Followed by weed control product both pre-emergent and post emergent herbicides to control broad-leaf weeds and sedge, and the most expensive of all are fungicides costing up to 6 times more than insecticides to control diseases.
Nitrogen is a major component of fertilizers and consumed by plants and crops in large quantities. The fact is nitrogen is all around us, even though our atmosphere is composed of 80% nitrogen plants can use it in that form.
The demand for corn creates a fertilizer demand
The fertilizer industry and the raw components are controlled by a few big players such as CF Industries Holdings Inc., Potash Corp., Terra Nitrogen Company LP, and Agrium Inc. When crop demands increases so does the demand for fertilizers, it’s a simple case of supply and demand crating a higher price.
The cost of nitrogen has gone up due to higher natural gas prices which is where anhydrous ammonia is derived from to make nitrogen for fertilizers.
More nitrogen is required in South Florida
Because of our calcareous soils in south Florida which is caused by our limestone deposits that is rich in calcium carbonate binds the nutrients to the soil and makes it inaccessible to the plants requiring up to 3 times more nitrogen per 1000 square feet compare to Central and Northern Florida and lawns require many more applications up to 3 more per year than the rest of Florida. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh014
The new Florida law requiring licensing for commercial fertilizer application
Anyone performing fertilizing services including landscapers and pest control companies must take the mandatory state Best Management Practices Course pass the exam with a 70% and apply for a fertilizer license from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer services.
The cost to take the class is about $15 and the license is $25 but it’s an all day course which will cost a landscaper and his workers and pest control technicians from $300 to $600 per person in lost production and revenue. Landscapers and pest control persons caught performing fertilizing with out a license can face hefty fines.
The requirement for fertilizers can be reduced by mowing your lawn correctly at the right height and frequency for more information on correct lawn mowing practices see 3 Secretes of a beautiful lawn