Fairway Green, Inc
9 Ilene Ct, Suite 14 Hillsborough, NJ 08844
Phone: (908) 281-7888

Are You Prepared to Comply with the New Jersey Fertilizer Laws?

Are You Prepared to Comply with the New Jersey Fertilizer Laws

What are the New Jersey fertilizer laws?

The New Jersey fertilizer laws were signed into effect by Governor Chris Christie on January 5, 2011.  It is one of the most restrictive fertilizer laws in the nation for good reasons.  It was enacted in three phases.

  • Phase one- This required the use of best management practices to reduce the impacts of fertilizers on waterways, and provided public education regarding correct fertilizer use.
  • Phase two- Initiated the creation of a certification program for professional fertilizer applicators and lawn care providers.
  • Phase three- Required manufacturers to reformulate their fertilizers for New Jersey.

Why were the fertilizer laws enacted?

The New Jersey Fertilizer Laws were enacted to help protect waterways from having run off of fertilizer by setting new limits on the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that can be applied on lawns as well as the times in which they can be applied.  In addition, fertilizer companies and homeowners are required to clean up any fertilizer that has gotten onto hard surfaces such as patios, walkways, decks, sidewalks and roadways.  Other factors that impact waterways include soil erosion, leaking septic systems, biological waste that makes its way into storm sewers, and even leaves washing into sewers and waterways.

How do the New Jersey fertilizer laws affect businesses?

A “blackout period” was imposed to restrict the timing in which fertilizers can be applied.  This date range is from December 1st to March 1st for lawn care companies.  Neither Nitrogen nor potassium can be applied between these dates.

In addition, businesses are now required to be licensed to apply fertilizer.  This not only applies to established businesses, but anyone you hire to apply fertilizers must be licensed.  To obtain this license, applicators are required to pass a test, take continuing education courses and pay an annual fee.  It is illegal to apply fertilizer in New Jersey without this license.

Enforcement of this law will be done by the municipalities, counties, police, local soil conservation districts and the local health departments.  Any of these parties can receive reports from citizens, community groups, and companies regarding the fertilizer applicators that are operating without proper certification.  Professional lawn care applicators and homeowners that violate the law are subject to an initial fine of $500 and $1,000 for each subsequent offense thereafter.

This New Jersey state law also affects the fertilizer manufacturers.  Since the law went into effect, the fertilizer manufacturers had to change their formulation of products to comply with New Jersey laws.  These fertilizers are now required to contain 20% slow release nitrogen and 0% phosphorus.  Phosphorus can be used if a soil test indicates a need for phosphorus or the lawn was recently seeded.

How do the New Jersey fertilizer laws affect the homeowner?

The “blackout period” for homeowners begins on November 15th and goes until March 1st.  Homeowners will have a little less time to get their final fertilizer of the season completed since the blackout period starts sooner than for a professional fertilizer company.

If you are a “do it yourselfer” you want to make sure you purchase a fertilizer that is specifically made for lawns.  If you purchase the lawn fertilizer from your local hardware store, nursery or co-op, it should already be reformulated to comply with New Jersey laws.  Be sure to follow the instructions on the label when applying the product.

Have the New Jersey fertilizer laws benefited the environment?

The New Jersey Fertilizer Laws are a good thing for our state.  As lawn care professionals, we are doing our part to help protect the environment.  In addition to helping our environment, these laws also ensure businesses are operating legally through continuing education and testing.


9 Ilene Ct, Suite 14, Hillsborough, NJ 08844 United States | (908) 281-7888
Phone: (908) 281-7888 Fairway Green Inc.