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Residential Application of Fertilizer: How can they regulate this?

While over application and misapplication of residential fertilizer can contribute to localized problems of excess nutrients in our streams, experts do not believe it is a primary cause for the scale of algal blooms we are currently experiencing in the western basin of Lake Erie. Products designed for turf or lawn care management have relatively low levels of phosphorus.  Ohio industry representatives have said they expect to remove all phosphorus from lawn care products by 2012. There are communities around the Great Lake states that have passed ordinances that ban the use of fertilizers containing phosphorus.  We are not aware of any communities in Ohio that adopted such ordinances.

Residents should carefully follow label instructions for all lawn products including avoiding application immediately prior to a rain event.  In addition, residents should avoid using other “all purpose” garden products on their lawns as these products do tend to have high phosphorus concentrations that can potentially runoff into local streams.  Utilize only those products designed for turf or lawn care management.

Gail Hesse, Ohio EPA

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