Don't use this kind of fertilizer on your lawn, not only can it be illegal, but it can also pollute the water.

More than 100 water bodies in New York State cannot be used for drinking, fishing, or swimming because they contain too much phosphorus, which can cause water pollution.


Excess phosphorus can cause algae overgrowth. The dense mats of algae drain the water of oxygen that fish need to survive. It also helps create the perfect environment for carcinogens to develop and feed toxic algae blooms that can kill pets, waterfowl, and other animals as well as cause serious illness in humans.

The fertilizer provisions of the NYS Dishwasher Detergent and Nutrient Runoff Law went into effect on January 1., 2012, and states it's against the law to use phosphorus on lawns that don't need it. (New York State Environmental Conservation Law, Article 17, title 21 and Agriculture and Markets Law § 146-g).


Make it easy on yourself and go phosphorus-free. You'll have zero pollution, and you won't be using a chemical that you don't need. The compound should only be used after you've had the soil tested through the Cornell Cooperative Extension office.

The above graphic shows what to look for when purchasing fertilizer. Look for the set of 3 numbers on the front bottom of the bag. The middle number represents the percentage of phosphorus used. Buy the bag with the zero in the middle because that means it's environmentally friendly, phosphorus-free fertilizer.

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