HARRISBURG – Legislation sponsored by Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23) to mandate responsible use of fertilizer through updated application standards heads to the governor’s desk this week for his signature.
“Developed areas, and the turf associated with them, are a growing source of nutrient pollution to our waters,” Yaw said. “These standards, which are consistent with standards enacted in neighboring states, acknowledge that we all have a part in reducing pollution and meeting our clean water goals while maintaining healthy lawns.”
Senate Bill 251 sets clear standards for fertilizer application to turf and modernizes the state’s existing program to ensure proper testing and labeling of fertilizer products. It also directs the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to establish a new agricultural and homeowner education program to inform the public about best practices for the application of fertilizer.
“The nutrients in fertilizer promote plant growth on land, but when excess nitrogen or phosphorus enters surface water such as a stream or lake, it promotes the growth of harmful algae that suffocates aquatic life and increases the treatment cost of drinking water,” Yaw said.
The enacted standards include best practices to reduce nutrient runoff, such as not applying fertilizer close to waterways, not applying fertilizer to frozen ground or impervious surfaces like sidewalks and driveways and applying the correct amount of fertilizer based on a soil test.
Bagged do-it-yourself fertilizer will not be able to contain phosphorus unless it is labeled for the establishment or repair of a lawn that requires phosphorus. Many of the available fertilizer products for lawns already comply.
The legislation received overwhelming support in both the Senate and House of Representatives and now awaits the governor’s signature.
CONTACT: Nick Troutman, 717-787-3280