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Maryland Enacts Most Comprehensive Regulation of Lawn Care

Starting today, the dying Chesapeake Bay is getting some help. Gov. Martin O’Malley signed into law legislation that limits both the content and the application of fertilizer for urban and suburban lawns, an effort supporters say should help rescue the nutrient-polluted Bay area.

The law bars any phosphorus in any fertilizer except those meant to boost growth of new or repaired lawns. It also limits nitrogen content and restricts where homeowners and lawn-care companies can apply fertilizer, requiring it not be sprayed or spread within 10-15 feet of water.

People paid to apply fertilizer would be required to undergo training and obtain certification from the Maryland Department of Agriculture, much as pest-control workers are now.

“This is an opportunity for homeowners to do their share,” said Del. James Hubbard, a Prince George’s County Democrat who introduced HB573 on behalf of the Chesapeake Bay Commission. The commission, representing lawmakers from Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, pushed the states to adopt lawn fertilizer limits this year. Virginia enacted curbs on phosphorus, and legislation is now being drafted in Pennsylvania.

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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
  • Diane M Olson Schmidt

    It is very good to see this, as it is not just extra phosphorus,but also lots of extra nitrogen which also adds to excess algae problems.
    We only need 4lbs. of nitrogen a year per lawn and any more than that runs off onto our waterways(4lbs.nitrogen a year by NOFA). Nobody, even professionals do not need to apply a higher nitrogen organic fertilizer, ever. Instead, compost tea works wonders as it feeds the soil and add microbes. Also folks needs to understand that soil is a living organism. A few folks in the midwest are starting to catch on to the concept of adding compost tea. Diane Olson Schmidt. LaceWing Gardening Services. Milwaukee; WI.

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