Archive for the ‘Publication’ Category

Frequently Asked Questions: Understanding and Obtaining the GI-BMP Certification and Fertilizer License

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about the GI-BMP training and application for fertilizer license 

I’m not sure if I or my employee(s) passed my GI-BMP post-test.  How can I find out?

  • Visit  Click on “Palm Beach” to view all professionals who have successfully completed this training.  Note: this is not proof of Urban Fertilizer License (required of all professionals who apply fertilizer commercially as of 2014), but proof that the prerequisite was earned.
  • Additionally, you can call 561.233.1759 a minimum of 4 weeks after your GI-BMP class (if you took the class through Palm Beach County Extension), with the date you took it, and we can look it up for you.

I passed my GI-BMP post-test, but I need to request a replacement certification card.  How do I order a replacement?

My information on file with the state GI-BMP office needs to be changed.  How do I change my address?

I have my GI-BMP certificate of completion.  What do I need to do to obtain my Limited Certification for Urban Landscape Commercial Fertilizer?

What License do I Need? ~ Guidance for Seeking Green Industry Credentials

What license do I need? How can I stand out as a qualified, licensed professional? These are common questions received from individuals who want to enter or excel in the green industry in Palm Beach County.   A new county fact sheet, What License do I Need? ~ Guidance for Seeking Green Industry Credentials is now available to address questions about some of the credentials that you may want or need. A table of links that will assist in locating licensing and credential information is located at the end of this publication.




Facts About the New County Fertilizer Ordinance

Palm Beach County’s Board of County Commissioners passed its “Florida Friendly Fertilizer Use Ordinance” on October 30, 2012.  This ordinance was required by the state legislature to address water quality related to landscape practices.  It is intended to protect Palm Beach County ground and surface waters.  The following is a summary of the ordinance.  Download a printer-friendly version of this fact sheet here.

  • Florida-Friendly Best Management Practices for Protection of Water Resources by the Green Industries (GI-BMP) is a research-based training program that includes an overview of the training and water legislation, irrigation, fertilization, pest management, and landscape best management practices.  Participants take a post-test following this one-day course.  Those achieving a 75% or better score receive a GI-BMP certificate of training.  This document is the prerequisite for the Limited Certification for Urban Landscape Commercial Fertilizer.  GI-BMP training is available at UF / IFAS Palm Beach County Extension multiple times per year and is also available online.  To sign up for an online class, visit or call 561.233.1759 for local offerings or more details.
  • Limited Certification for Urban Landscape Commercial Fertilizer is the new “fertilizer license”.  It is obtained from the Florida Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control by submitting the GI-BMP certificate of training and a completed application form and must be renewed every four years.  The application can be found at:
  • Commercial fertilizer applicators are those who apply fertilizer for hire, generally working on multiple properties owned by paying individual clients.  Commercial applicators must hold a Limited Certification for Urban Landscape Commercial Fertilizer by January 1, 2014 to apply fertilizer in the landscape.  Businesses must provide proof of successful GI-BMP training to obtain or renew a business license from the PBC Tax Collector.
  • Institutional fertilizer applicators are those who apply fertilizer to properties owned by their employer.  This group includes golf course, municipal and county parks and public works employees, and staff of hotels and multi-family communities.  Institutional fertilizer applicators must hold a GI-BMP certificate of completion by January 1, 2014 in order to apply fertilizer in the landscape.
  • Non-commercial and non-institutional fertilizer applicators include homeowners, nurseries, and farm operations and should follow the University of Florida / IFAS “Florida-Friendly Landscape Program” and label instructions when applying fertilizers.
  • Anyone (including commercial and institutional applicators and homeowners) that applies fertilizer is encouraged to follow the principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping and Green Industries Best Management Practices, which includes the following:
    • No fertilizing during the Prohibited Application Period (when any part of Palm Beach County is under National Weather Service Flood Watch / Warning, a Tropical Storm Watch / Warning, a Hurricane Watch / Warning or if 2 inches of rain, or more is expected to fall within a one-day period).
    • No fertilizing within 10 feet of a water body (3 feet if a deflector shield is used).
    • Fertilize with rates at or below those currently recommended by the University of Florida and the fertilizer label.
    • Deflectors should be used with broadcast spreaders where needed.
    • Fertilizer spilled on an impervious surface must be cleaned up and either applied to landscape or returned to the package. Fertilizer and grass clippings should never be blown into water bodies, storm drains, sidewalks, or roadways, or allowed to wash into these areas.

Find more information in the GI-BMP manual ( and through our many Florida Friendly Landscaping publications (


Professional Disease Management Guide for Ornamental Plants

The University has updated and re-released its Professional Disease Management Guide for Ornamental Plants.  This valuable publication was written for landscape professionals, growers, and other pest control operators as a resource for information about managing diseases in ornamental plants.

Check out this publication for information about prevention, cultural control, scouting, physical control, biological control, and chemical control.  There are four tables that summarize the commercial products available for plant disease management.  A list of websites useful in identifying and managing plant diseases is also provided.

Big-Eyed Bugs – Revised EDIS publication

The University of Florida recently revised and reissued publication#EENY252:  Big-Eyed Bugs, Geocoris spp. (Insecta: Hemiptera: Lygaeidae).  Big-eyed bugs are the beneficial predator that is often confused with harmful chinch bugs.  Big-eyed bugs, however are actually a beneficial predator that feeds on chinch bugs, aphids, and other pest insects.  Please read the linked publication, above, for more information, including detailed photos and a key that may be useful in identifying big-eyed bugs and chinch bugs.

Rainfastness of Pesticides

It’s important to avoid fertilizer or pesticide application when a heavy rain is expected.  As you know, this may result in runoff of these chemicals- can end up polluting our water, reducing the effectiveness of the product, and wasting customers’ money.  In South Florida, rain can be frequent and unpredictable, so its a good idea to be in tune with the weather and the products you are applying.

Some pesticides can withstand rain better than others, and foliar-applied products are extremely variable.  A rainfast pesticide is one that has dried and/or been absorbed by a plant’s tissues.  Labelling for rainfastness is variable.  Some product labels contain significant detail, while others don’t address rainfastness.

Keep the following in mind:

  1. Some products provide a specific time frame needed to achieve rainfastness, while others don’t.  ALWAYS check the weather and the label.
  2. Some products will prohibit application when rain is forecast.
  3. Adjuvants, such as surfactants and product thickeners, can be used to improve a product’s rainfastness.
  4. Rainfastness is variable based on insecticide class, amount of rainfall, and plant part (fruit or leaves).  For example, with up to 1/2″ of rain, Neonicotinoids are highly rainfast, while Pyrethroids are only moderately rainfast.  (see the full publication, linked below, for a detailed chart)
  5. The label is the law!  No exceptions!

This post was adapted from a new EDIS publication, Rainfastness of Pesticides, by Bonnie Wells and Fred Fischel.  You can read more here.

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