State Senate Approves Yaw Measure Regulating Lawn Fertilizer Application, Updating 1956 Act

HARRISBURG – A bill aimed at modernizing Pennsylvania’s 1956 Fertilizer Act was overwhelmingly approved today by the state Senate, according to prime sponsor, Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23).

“Pennsylvania’s Fertilizer Act was first passed in 1956 and has not been substantially modernized since,” Sen. Yaw said.  “The updates I am proposing, in consultation with industry and state agencies, will unquestionably reduce the environmental impact of fertilizer applied to lawn and turf areas, while ensuring that the land will be able to receive adequate nutrients.  Homeowners investing in lawn care services have no way to know if the employees applying fertilizer to their yards are properly trained, and the Department of Agriculture has no authority to investigate irresponsible or illegal applications.  This bill will change that.”

Senate Bill 251 will establish best management practices for the use of fertilizer; creates a certification program for commercial and public applicators of fertilizer; promotes homeowner and private agricultural fertilizer education through public outreach; enhances required labeling of all fertilizer products; provides for the exemption of local laws and regulations; re-establishes enhanced reporting requirements and provides a broad-based increase of fees, while repealing the separate classification for small package fees for inspections.

“The bill seeks to level the playing field so everyone, not just farmers, can decrease nutrient run-off and be part of the solution for cleaner Pennsylvania waters,” Sen. Yaw added.

Similar legislation has already been enacted in Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey, and the industry has expressed a strong desire for consistency across the region and state.

Several organizations voiced support for the measure including The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, the world’s largest marketer and distributor of lawn and garden products.

“As a fertilizer manufacturer, we know the importance of applying fertilizer in order to maintain a healthy lawn, said Robert Luria, Manager, Government Relations, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company.  “It is to our advantage if consumers use the products as directed and as they are intended, and we are glad to support responsible application.”

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, and Trout Unlimited also weighed-in, supporting Senate Bill 251.

The legislation now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration. 

For more state-related news and information, visit Senator Yaw’s website at or on Facebook and Twitter @SenatorGeneYaw.


Nick Troutman
(717) 787-3280

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