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Frequently Asked Questions - Parks & Beautification


Q: What tree grows best in Clearwater?

A: Clearwater city limits include a wide array of soil and site conditions that should be considered before planting any tree, but the best suited trees for most soil conditions is the "Live Oak" (quercus virginiana). The Live Oak is tolerant of many pests and adverse conditions such as salt spray and drought. The Live Oak has been adopted as the "City Tree" for Clearwater due to its' top notch performance and the benefits it provides.

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Q: What causes that thick mat of webbing on tree limbs and trunks, and is it harmful to the tree?

A: The webbing is spun by Psocids or "Bark Lice", which feed on mosses and lichens growing on the tree. They cause no damage to the tree. If necessary, the webbing can be washed off using a high pressure nozzle on a garden hose.

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Q: Does Spanish moss kill trees?

A: No. Spanish moss is a bromeliad, or "airplant". It merely anchors itself to the trees and derives all its' water and nutrients from the air and water that falls on it. You'll see moss growing on fences, wires, and other non-living structures. Heavy accumulations of moss can cause limb breakage in rain soaked wind storms since the wet moss becomes heavy.

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Q: What's the best fertilizer for lawns?

A: Usually a fertilizer with a 3-1-2 ratio of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium is suitable, applied at a rate of one to one and a half pounds of Nitrogen per thousand square feet of turf. Most soils in the Clearwater area are very high in Phosphorus content and because Potassium is as leachable in our sandy soils as Nitrogen, we recommend equal percentages of Nitrogen and Potassium, with no or very little Phosphorus. Have a sample of your soil tested for nutrient content through the Pinellas County Extension Office.

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Q: When can I fertilize my lawn or garden?

A county-wide fertilizer ordinance went into effect in 2010 and now regulates the use of fertilizers in Pinellas County. Residents can fertilize lawns and gardens year round, but rules limit the types of fertilizers used during the summer, rainy months. Fertilizers containing nitrogen and/or phosphorus cannot be applied to lawns or landscape plants from June 1 to Sept. 30.

If you plan to fertilize, here’s what you need to know:

  • Don’t apply fertilizer if the National Weather Service has issued a weather advisory in Pinellas County for events like severe thunderstorms, floods, tropical storms, or if rains greater than two inches in a 24-hour period is predicted.
  • Fertilizer with nitrogen cannot be applied on newly established lawns or landscape plants for the first 30 days.
  • If granular fertilizers containing nitrogen are used, they must contain no less than 50 percent slow-release nitrogen, per guaranteed analysis label.
  • Fertilizer cannot be applied or deposited onto any solid surface, such as driveways, sidewalks, and roads, nor can they be washed, swept, or blown off such surfaces into stormwater drains, ditches, roadways, or surface waters. If this occurs, the fertilizer must be immediately removed to the greatest extent possible.
  • If using broadcast or rotary fertilizer spreaders, deflector shields must deflect fertilizer granules from all solid surfaces and surface waters.
  • A fertilizer-free zone is a 10-foot buffer from a wetland, top of the bank of a surface water, or landward edge of a seawall. Fertilizer cannot be applied within this zone.

This ordinance restricts the amounts of fertilizer used that can run off lawns and drains, which flow into the city’s storm drains, ponds, creeks, rivers, canals, and eventually to Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Excessive fertilizer use - after it drains to the bay - can cause algae blooms which suffocate fish, endanger marine wildlife, and deteriorate water quality.

If you still have questions about the proper use of fertilizers, call the Pinellas County Watershed Management Division at (727) 464-4425.

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Q: How do you control Oleander caterpillars?

A: Early detection of caterpillar outbreak is important in controlling the amount of damage done by the Oleander caterpillar. Usually one application of a non-chemical pesticide containing Bacillus thurengiensis (a bacteria that kills the worms once they consume it) will do the trick.

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Q: Does Parks & Beautification use reclaimed water for irrigation?

A: Yes, we use reclaimed water where available. Only sites close by and including our Wastewater plants are irrigated with reclaimed water. Our water tank trucks, which water trees, plants, etc., in unirrigated areas, also use the reclaimed water. More will be utilized as reclaimed water distribution lines are installed throughout the city.

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Q: Who do I talk with about questions, safety concerns, or maintenance at recreation facilities?

A: The majority of the questions would be directed to the General Maintenance Section. For specific areas of concern, use these numbers:

  • Playground Equipment: (727) 462-6563 x 226 224
  • Ballfield Lights: (727) 462-6566 562-4802 ext 3811
  • Fitness Stations: (727) 462-6563 x 226 224
  • Athletic Fields: (727) 462- 6563 x225 562-4802 ext 3811
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Q: Who is responsible for cleaning and maintaining Clearwater Beach?

A: The Beach Maintenance Team is responsible for cleaning Clearwater Beach. Time schedules vary. Please call (727) 462-6563 x225 for more information.

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Q: Why does the City rake and clean the beach only south of Sommerset Ave?

A: The area north of Sommerset Ave is right-of-way and is the property owner's responsibility. In addition, beach maintenance is paid for by revenue generated from the Parking Systems Fund. There are no paid public parking spaces north of Sommerset Ave.

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Q: Who is responsible for maintenance (mowing, trash pick up, etc.) in City Parks?

A: The Clearwater Parks & Recreation Department. Please call (727) 562-4800.

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Q: What is considered right-of-way for tree-trimming?

A: Generally rights-of-way are any City owned property in front of privately owned property. Locations vary and should be inspected by City staff. Please contact the Urban Forestry Division in the Public Services Department at 562-4950 (727) 462-6563 ext 226 for more information.

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Q: When do hardwood trees in the rights-of-way on my street get trimmed?

A: When the City is notified by City residents or employees that trimming is needed due to a potentially hazardous condition. To report trees that need trimming in the rights-of-way, please contact the Urban Forestry Division in the Public Services Department at 562-4950 (727) 462-6563 ext 226. The homeowner is responsible for trimming branches that are not in the right-of-way.

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Q: What are the hours of operation for the parks?

A: Park hours vary throughout the City. Parks are closed from Sunset to Sunrise unless otherwise posted.

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Q: Who maintains City sidewalks when they are broken or uplifted by tree roots?

A: The Parks and Recreation Department has a crew that rotates the repairs, along with many other concrete related tasks or assigned duties.

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Q: Who do I call for street repair (e.g., potholes)?

A: The Streets and Sidewalks Division Our sidewalk crew repair repairs all the asphalt potholes and patches throughout the City. We can be reached at (727) 562-4828.

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Q: Who removes dead trees?

A: If the trees are within the City's rights-of-way or are on city property, the Parks and Recreation's Urban Forestry Division has certified arborists and other employees that are very well versed in proper tree maintenance. The property owner is responsible for removing trees on their own property.

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Q: How do I trim trees or who maintains the ones in my yard?

A: The Urban Forestry Division can assist you by providing informational pamphlets and verbal directions on pruning techniques. Please call 727-562-4800 for more information. The property owner is responsible for removing trees on their own property. For information on how to trim trees or to find a certified arborist please contact the International Society of Arboriculture at www.isa-arbor.com.

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