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Phosphorus Ban

Phosphorus Fertilizer Restrictions on Lawns
In December 2010, statewide phosphorus application restrictions were added to the Michigan Fertilizer Law (1994 PA 451, Part 85, Fertilizers).   Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois have similar restrictions in place.  

Public Act 299 of 2010 prohibits the use of phosphorus fertilizers on residential or commercial lawns, beginning January 1, 2012.   Phosphorus applications for agriculture, for new turf establishment, based on soil test results, for certain types of manure and by golf courses that complete an approved training course are not included.   

Starting January 1, 2012, a person shall not apply any fertilizer with available phosphate (P2O5) to turf except:

  • a tissue, soil or other test performed within the preceding 3 years...indicating that the level of available phosphate in the soil is deficient to support healthy turf grass growth or establishment;
  • new turf establishment using seed or sod;
  • when the product is a finished sewage sludge product (biosolids), an organic manure or a manipulated manure and it is applied to turf at a rate of not more than 0.25 pounds of phosphorus per 1,000 square feet at any one time;
  • a golf course that has successfully completed a training program approved by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD).

Local phosphorus fertilizer ordinances in existence before December 16, 2010 are grandfathered.  

Fertilizer cannot be applied to frozen soil or soil saturated with water.   Any fertilizer released onto an impervious surface must be cleaned up promptly.

The other phosphorus provisions in Act 299 include new definitions, setbacks from surface water, $50 civil fines and outreach information.   

Contact:  April Hunt, MDARD

Download the PDF below to assist you and your customers with compliance on this ban.

Visit www.michigan.gov/mda-fertilizer


New phosphorus fertilizer amendments (PDF)

PDF icon Use Phosphorus Free Fertilizer452.58 KB