New Jersey Considers Fertilizer Restrictions for Turf

November 19, 2009 in Extension

A draft of New Jersey Senate Bill K204_0037 was recently released to the public, and contains language similar to legislation adapted by some Midwestern states concerning restrictions on phosphorus fertilization of turf. However, the bill (in current form) goes further than restricting phosphorus applications, and includes proposals to regulate nitrogen rates and for mandatory certification of professional fertilizer applicators. Selected excerpts from the bill are provided.

1. No person may apply fertilizer to impervious surfaces, and any inadvertently applied shall be swept or blown back to the target surface or original container.

2. No person may apply fertilizer within 10 feet of any water body, or when the ground is frozen, or after December 15 or before February 15.

3. No professional fertilizer applicator may apply fertilizer to turf without first obtaining fertilizer certification from the Dept. of Environmental Protection.

4. No person shall use phosphorus fertilizer on lawn turf unless a soil test indicates additional phosphorus is needed, or when used for establishing or repairing a turf area.

5. No person shall apply fertilizer containing more than 70% water soluble nitrogen, or fertilizer containing nitrogen at a rate of more than 0.7 lbs water soluble nitrogen per 1000 sq ft at one time. Exceptions are allowed for turf establishment.

Bills such as New Jersey Senate Bill K204_0037 are becoming more common around the country, and is one reason why turf managers and homeowners are seeing less phosphorus in fertilizer products. Obviously, some aspects of New Jersey’s proposed legislation will be easier for professional applicators to implement than others. I will try to provide updates as this bill moves forward. So far, legislation regarding turf fertilization has not been proposed in Pennsylvania.

Pete Landschoot, Prof. Turfgrass Science