Plant Clinic

He needs a license to apply fertilizer

As of Jan. 1, 2014, anyone who applies fertilizer commercially will need training and a license.
As of Jan. 1, 2014, anyone who applies fertilizer commercially will need training and a license.
A. Hunsberger / UF Extension

Q. I pay a friend to fertilize my lawn. I heard that he may need to get a license to do this. Is this true?

J.W., Pinecrest

Yes, as of Jan. 1, anyone paid to apply fertilizers to lawns and landscapes must have the “Limited Certificate for Urban Landscape Commercial Fertilizer Application” license. To obtain this license, all fertilizer applicators must obtain training, which is provided at most UF county extension offices in Florida.

The training is called “Green Industries Best Management Practices.” A passing grade at the end of training is required to even apply for the license. To find your local UF Extension office and when training sessions are offered, do a web search for “local UF Extension offices.”

No matter what type of fertilizer is used (such as granular fertilizer, fertilizer-pesticide mixtures, manure-based fertilizers), if someone is paid to apply it, they must be licensed. The primary reason for the license is to educate people about protecting our water resources.

As a reminder, whenever you hire someone to apply pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, etc.), they must have the appropriate license. Ask for proof. This assures you that they have had the proper training to protect you, themselves, and the environment.

As the property owner, you are exempt from these regulations.

Adrian Hunsberger is an entomologist/horticulturist with the UF/IFAS Miami-Dade Extension office. Write to Plant Clinic, 18710 SW 288th St., Homestead, FL 33030; e-mail

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