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Phosphate Fertilizer Legislation Introduced

05 Feb 2011 11:52 PM | Ray Mattingly (Administrator)

IPLLA News Online

February 2011

The Indiana General Assembly is now in session and legislation has indeed been introduced which would put limitations on the use of phosphate fertilizers in lawn care.

Introduced by Representative Richard Dodge of Angola; House Bill 1425 (http://www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2011/IN/IN1425.1.html)places restrictions on fertilizer containing phosphorous.  Here are some of the objectives stated in the proposed legislation.


  1. If enacted, the bill would be applicable to fertilizers that contain more than sixty seven hundredths of one percent of phosphorous per weight.


  1. If passed, no lawn care application containing phosphorus could be applied for any reason from December 1 through March 1.


  1. No lawn care fertilizer may be applied to an impervious surface, and if it is, the product must be removed immediately.


  1. If the ground surrounds a body of water, no fertilizer shall be applied closer than 10 feet if the ground is flat or slopes away from the water and no closer than 20 feet if the ground slopes towards the body of water.


  1. Fertilizer contain phosphorous can be applied for the purposes of establishing a new lawn or a lawn that is deficient in phosphorous as determined by a soil test performed within he last 36 months.


  1. The proposed legislation would affect both professional lawn care applicators and the homeowner.


The Indiana Professional Lawn & Landscape Association opposes this legislation for a variety of reasons.


The legislation is based upon the supposition that phosphate fertilizer run-off increases algae bloom in lakes, ponds, and streams.  We do not agree with that contention and do not believe that comprehensive studies show a true correlation between phosphates and an increase in algae bloom.


Phosphate fertilizers play an important role in contributing to the long term health of the grass plant.  Omitting it completely will ultimately result in a weaker plant and thinner stand of grass.  Our belief is that a thicker turf stand reduces runoff and that a thinner and weaker stand will increase runoff and thus the potential for pollution.


The use and application of turf fertilizers in Indiana, is regulated by the Office of the Indiana State Chemist and the Indiana Fertilizer Advisory Board.  This legislation would be in conflict with current regulation and cause confusion within the lawn care industry.


The legislation is anti-small business.  It would increase our costs by requiring a soil analysis prior to the use of phosphates.  Such costs would also need to be passed on to the customer thus unnecessarily increase their cost of lawn care service.


Such legislation is not enforceable.  Our association categorically rejects new legislation or regulation that does not provide a reasonable method of uniformly enforcement of its provisions.


Finally, IPLLA believes that the real target of such legislation is fertilizer in general, not just phosphate fertilizers.  This type of legislation is simply a first step in reducing the overall use of fertilizer in the green industry.


IPLLA has met with the legislators involved and is working closely with our legislative affairs representatives in the Green Industry Alliance.  We also need your full support in this effort.  Please be sure and contact your local State Representative and State Senator and make clear your opposition to Indiana House Bill 1425.


Thank you for your continued involvement in the Indiana Professional Lawn & Landscape Association.




Bob Andrews

Executive Director


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