State could ban lawn fertilizer with phosphorus

The General Assembly is expected to consider a bill that would ban fertilizer containing phosphorous from being used on most lawns, golf courses, parks, and cemeteries in Virginia.

Phosphorus runoff from lawns is a major cause of a “dead zone” in the Chesapeake Bay, where it acts as a nutrient for algae that can overwhelm plants and some marine animals.

The bill, introduced last year and postponed till this session, would not apply to smaller areas — gardens, trees, shrubs, or indoor plants. But huge tracts of land would have to be fed using a phosphorous-free fertilizer. Stores would be required to have the phosphorus-free products on shelves, but could sell products containing the mineral upon request.

How common is phosphorous in plant food? Well, you know those three numbers you often see — e.g., 5-10-5? The middle number is the amount of phosphorous.

So instead of this:

fertilizer

You would need to use this:

fertilizer_0

Arlington already bans lawn fertilizer with phosphorus, and many states and localities limit or ban the use of laundry or dish detergents that contain it.

About Andrew Kantor

Andrew is VAR's editor and information manager, and -- lessee now -- a former reporter for the Roanoke Times, former technology columnist for USA Today, and a former magazine editor for a bunch of places. He hails from New York with stops in Connecticut, New Jersey, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Roanoke.
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5 Responses to State could ban lawn fertilizer with phosphorus

  1. Melissa says:

    This is a good move; more eco-friendly we are the better. In UK several initiatives have been introduced to promote alternative and renewable energy. Good for the planet!

  2. Pressdeposit says:

    Hi Melissa! I agree with you. It should be.

  3. Sam says:

    phosphorus-free fertilizer can be found most anywhere. It’s cheaper than the kind with phosphorus — and your lawn will not know the difference.

  4. sess says:

    This is a stupid suggestion from the authorities.Why would they want to ban what all living organisms need.Phosphorus is what all living thing accumulate excessively and it’s part of the cell’s membranes and can affect growth in many creatures.Without phosphorus in the fertilizers,the plants will just absorb what is left of the phosphorus in soil.That means the soil will not be able to replace the phosphorus element in time for the plant’s needs.That’s why we have phosphorus in the god damn fertilizers.Ether way,they better have a safer and better resolution for this.

  5. Gene says:

    The phosphorus in fertilizer is not the problem. The problem is missapplication or excessive use of fertilizer. Kind of like guns. The gunis notthe problem, the idiot using it isthe problem. I agree with sess. This is an element that isrequired for plant development.

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