SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - For those homeowners who are thinking about applying fall fertilizer the window of opportunity is closing quickly.  You only have until November 15th to apply fertilizer.  This is based on the law, New Jersey Act, P.L. 2010, C.112 (C58:10A-64), signed back in January 5, 2011 by Governor Chris Christie.

The law prohibits homeowners from applying fertilizers between November 15th and March 1st.   For professional fertilizer applicators, you must complete your customer service cycle of late fall nitrogen or phosphorus fertilization by December 1st and then fertilizer containing nitrogen or phosphorus cannot be applied until March 1st.  All other materials, such as products containing potassium, lime and composts, are still legal to apply during these blackout dates.

Fertilizer is best applied when turf needs plant food and is actively growing.    The reason for these blackout dates is because the risk of fertilizer runoff or leachate into ground water is more likely when the ground is frozen.

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So why has this law been implemented?  Nitrogen and phosphorous are nutrients required for plant growth.  A limited amount of these nutrients is important for healthy plant life.  An overabundance, however, not only can harm lawns but when washed into waterways stimulates excessive algae and weed growth.  This in turn, depletes oxygen from water and reduces sunlight needed for healthy aquatic life.  Let’s stop polluting OUR waterways and help OUR environment.  Please think before you fertilize! 

Log onto www.nj.gov/dep/healthylawnshealthywater/ to find out more information on the NJ fertilizer laws and the professional fertilizer applicator certification.   Professionals can also visit www.profact.rutgers.edu/ for certification and training information.

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Credits: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection