Keyword Site Search

Another Fertilizer Ban Approved

Graham Peaslee, a chemistry professor at Hope College, studies a water sample extracted from the Black River in Allegan County, Mich. The county, concerned about runoff, has approved a ban on phosphorus lawn fertilizer.

Starting next year, phosphorus-based lawn fertilizer will be largely prohibited on residential lawns in Allegan County, Mich. Fertilizer restrictions are one of the fastest-growing class of regulations affecting landscape professionals.

LandscapeOnline Playworld

Commercial violators in the Michigan county will pay $50 for the first violation in a 12-month period, $150 for the second and $300 for each violation thereafter. Newly-established turf is exempt in some situations.

Algae in Lakes

The Allergan County Board of Commissioners approved the ordinance, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2009 by an 8-2 vote.

Algae and weeds fed by fertilizer have become a concern across the Midwest and Northeast. Minnesota has a statewide ban on phosphorus. Nitrogen-based fertilizer will soon be banned across much of Long Island, N.Y. The Canadian province of Manitoba will ban phosphorus starting in 2009. And the County of Suffolk, N.Y. has banned nitrogen-based fertilizer use between Nov. 1 and April 1, starting in 2009.

Jamie Cross, of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, said phosphorus promotes plant growth and can lead to algae blooms and weeds in lakes.

“When those weeds die off, they can deplete oxygen and lead to fish kills,” Cross said. “The algae issue is becoming bigger and bigger in the state of Michigan.”

According to a letter from the Lake Allegan / Kalamazoo River Watershed Phosphorus Total Maximum Daily Load Implementation Committee, one pound of phosphorus can support growth of 500 pounds of algae.

Some Opposition

Similar bans in other Great Lakes communities have run into opposition from landscape business owners and others.

Board member Max Thiele opposed the ban, saying it wasn’t enforceable and that its implementation was a “mad rush to judgment.’”

“Let it be clear that I concur with my associates’ concern about the impact phosphorus has on the waters of our county,” Thiele said, adding he did not believe the county had the authority to ban phosphorus fertilizer.

He and board member Don Black voted against the ordinance.

“It’s not a complete prohibition,” board Chairman Steve McNeal said


Search Site by Story Keywords

Related Stories

June 15, 2019, 10:35 pm PDT

Website problems, report a bug.
Copyright © 2019 Landscape Communications Inc.
Privacy Policy