New Jersey’s New Fertilizer Law Primer

16 Apr New Jersey’s New Fertilizer Law Primer

Closeup LawnDesigned To Protect The State’s Water Resources, It Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Have A Beautiful Lawn

While perhaps nothing gives a homeowner more pride than a lush and green lawn each summer, the state of New Jersey has put measures in place beginning in 2011 with a new fertilizer law designed to safeguard the state’s precious water resources.

The state is not telling you not to enjoy a lush and green lawn this year, but rather to do it safely by monitoring the fertilizing process. And while the new law can be a bit laborious to follow, working with a local lawn care professional can help you to safely follow the stipulations for the long-term good of our beautiful Garden State

One of the biggest questions we’ve been asked this spring is ‘how do I make sense of the new fertilizer law?,'” said Ralph Dinizo, President of Truesdale Nursery & Landscape Services of Berkeley Heights, N.J. “It’s a law that may seem to have a lot of components to it, but it’s really quite easy to follow, and it’s for the right reasons in protecting the state.

In order to better understand the why’s and how’s of the new fertilizer law, here’s a brief overview:

What Is This New Fertilizer Law All About?

Water quality is at the heart of this law. It still allows you to feed your lawn, but in a way that avoids adverse impact on New Jersey waters. Barnegat Bay was becoming more polluted and life in its waters was actually changing, such as an increased jellyfish population. The state determined lawn fertilizer was likely a major contributor to this — runoff into storm drains, streams, or leaching into groundwater, and eventually finding its way into waterways.

How Does This State Law Impact Municipality Laws?

Many municipalities already have their own fertilizer laws. However, the new state law supersedes all local mandates.

How Do I Know How Much Fertilizer To Now Apply?

While the packaging may include the new limits, this verbiage is not required until 2013. In the interim, consult with your local lawn care professional for the most accurate calculations. You can also determine amounts by visiting

WHEN Should I Not Apply Fertilizer?

The new law prohibits fertilizer application between November 15 and March 1. Also don’t apply fertilizer during or just before a heavy rain. Don’t leave it on an impervious surface like pavement – sweep up any fertilizer that falls onto this type of surface. Don’t apply it to frozen ground. Runoff is higher in all these instances.

WHERE Can I Not Apply Fertilizer?

Buffer zones exist around bodies of water for obvious runoff reasons. Fertilizer containing nitrogen or phosphorus cannot be applied within 25 feet of a body of water, unless application is via drop spreader, rotary spreader with a deflector, or as a targeted spray liquid. When these methods are used, the buffer zone may be reduced to 10 feet.

Where Do I Get Help If I Need It?

There are a multitude of resources on the Internet. And of course your local lawn care professional is just a phone call away. Truesdale is here to help. Contact us today.