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MN Lawn and Garden Care | MN Lawn Care Services

The storm drain in your street is a link to our lakes and rivers. The choices you make when caring for your lawn directly affect water quality. A common cause of lake and river pollution is phosphorus runoff. In response to this, Minnesota has a law restricting the use of phosphorus lawn fertilizer.  Although phosphorus is important for grass growth, many lawns have adequate soil phosphorus and do not need further phosphorus fertilization.

You May Be Fertilizing More Than Your Grass

If you suspect your lawn is in need of phosphorus, soil test first to make sure before using a phosphorus lawn fertilizer.

Phosphorus turns lakes and rivers green. Phosphorus stimulates the growth of algae in lakes and rivers. This crowds out other water plants and reduces oxygen available to fish. The result is unattractive, foul-smelling water that is bad for fish, wildlife, and humans. Nitrogen, not phosphorus, greens up grass.

Phosphorus-free lawn fertilizer still contains nitrogen, the plant nutrient that greens up grass. To keep our lakes and rivers healthy,we need to manage phosphorus carefully.  Read on to learn how you can reduce phosphorus runoff from lawn fertilizers and other sources!

Lawns, Lakes, and Laws

What is the role of phosphorus in lawns, landscapes and lakes?

Lawns, Lakes and Laws
Ron Struss UM Extension Service

Most lawns in the Twin Cities Metro Area have adequate levels of phosphorus for healthy turf growth.  However, in western MN soils have lower levels of phosphorus and lawns may need additional phosphorus.

Excess phosphorus in lakes and rivers can cause

  • Algae growth
  • Decreased water clarity
  • Disagreeable odor
  • Habitat loss
  • Fish kills

Source: www.cleanwater.org

Green Up Your Grass, Not The Lakes and Rivers

Minnesota Phosphorus Lawn Fertilizer Law

Fertilizers containing phosphorus cannot be used on lawns in Minnesota unless the following exceptions apply:

  • A new lawn is being established by seeding or laying sod.
  • Soil testing shows need for phosphorus fertilization.
  • Fertilizer is being applied to a golf course by trained staff.

Look For the Middle Number!

Fertilizer 22-0-15

A string of three numbers on a fertilizer bag shows its analysis – the middle number being phosphate (phosphorus) content.  A “zero in the middle” means phosphorus-free fertilizer. More information on the law is available at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture website www.mda.state.mn.us; click on “Water & Land” then on “Lawn Care & Water Quality.”

Professional Fertilizing Services MN

A lawn and garden fertilizer program is scientifically designed to nurture the plants you want to thrive, while controlling weed growth and creating an environment in which harmful diseases and insects do not want to live.

A fertilizer specialists will examine your lawn and gardens, assess the health of your plants, measure thatch depth, note any weeds, insects or diseases that might be present, and do a soil analysis.  Based on their findings, they will create a fertilization program to provide the nutrients necessary for your lawn and gardens. From regularly scheduled mowing, edging, trimming and leaf raking to custom fertilization, aeration, weed and dandelion control, your lawn or grounds can be a picture of beauty.

MN Phosphorus Law

Source: Minnesota Department of Agriculture