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Organic Exemption Survives New Jersey Fertilizer Law

Legislators in New Jersey made statewide headlines today with the news of yesterday’s passage of a sweeping environmental bill that included lawn fertilizer regulations. We’ve seen this coming for months, but what was not certain until today was whether or not the exemption for fertilizers derived from composted plants and animal manures would stand.

Nancy Sadlon, executive director of the New Jersey Green Industry Council, assured us this morning that the organic provision — that also allows for the use of composted biosolids as lawn fertilizer — remained intact. She said she would post the final version of the bill on her web site by day’s end Tuesday.

“We fought hard to keep that (the organic exemption) in there,” she said. “The key issue there is that you have a lot of problem materials (human biosolids and chicken manure) being turned into a positive as a fertilizer.”

According to Sadlon’s web site, other key provisions of the New Jersey bill include:

What are the elements of the newly passed Fertilizer Bills:
S. 2554 / A. 2290?
Establish one State Fertilizer Standard – Pre-Emption of local municipal ordinances.
Requires Professionals to be certified:
Limits Fertilizer Applications Dates: Blackout dates of November 15th March 1st for consumers, and December 1st March 1st for professionals.
Establish Buffers from all water bodies: 25 feet from all water bodies, reduced to 10 feet with proper deflector equipment and an allowed rescue treatment annually.
Ban all phosphorus use: No phosphorus can be used unless soil test proves phosphorus application needed or after soil disturbance when reestablishing turf surfaces;
Restricts amount of nitrogen (N) allowed in products and application amounts:
Professionals: Maximum 0.7 soluble nitrogen per 1000 sq. ft., 1.0 N total per application, 4.25 N total annual applications.
Consumer content: Maximum 0.7 soluble nitrogen per 1000 sq. ft., 0.9 N total per application, 3.2 N total annual application, minimum 20% slow release content.

About The Author

Paul Tukey

An international leader of the green movement, Mr. Tukey is a journalist, author, filmmaker, TV host, activist and award-winning public speaker, who is widely recognized as North America's leading advocate for landscape sustainability and toxic pesticide reduction strategies.

Number of Entries : 1023
  • Colin

    Paul, just wondering where that leaves corn gluten meal. It must be applied at 2 lbs Nitrogen per 1000 sq’ to be an effecting herbicide. Does the organic exemption apply to this product?


    • Paul Tukey

      I think it will be fine because the annual application rate falls under the 4.5 pounds allowed.

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