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Blackout Dates for Lawn Fertilizer Applications Take Effect on Nov. 16

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Maryland Department of Agriculture reminds citizens that fertilizer blackout dates authorized by Maryland’s Lawn Fertilizer Law will begin on November 16 and run through February 28. 

Maryland’s Lawn Fertilizer Law prohibits residents and lawn-care professionals from fertilizing lawns with products containing phosphorus and nitrogen between the specified blackout dates. An exception exists for lawn-care professionals, who may apply up to 0.5 pound of soluble or insoluble nitrogen per 1,000 square feet to lawns they manage until December 1.

Potassium and lime may still be applied during the blackout dates, since they are not considered a threat to water quality. Citizens and lawn-care professionals may resume lawn-fertilizer applications containing nitrogen and phosphorus on March 1 as long as the ground is not frozen or heavy rain is not predicted. A soil test is required before phosphorus may be applied to established lawns.

The department reminds citizens that it is prohibited to use fertilizer products to melt ice and snow on steps, sidewalks, driveways, or other paved surfaces. Applying fertilizer to hard or frozen ground provides a direct pathway for nutrient runoff into storm drains that feed into the Chesapeake Bay.

Maryland’s Lawn Fertilizer Law requires lawn-care professionals to be licensed and certified by the Maryland Department of Agriculture to apply fertilizer to the properties they manage. A list of certified lawn-care professionals can be viewed on the department’s website. For more information about Maryland’s Lawn Fertilizer Law and fertilizer best management practices, visit: mda.maryland.gov/fertilizer.

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Contact Information

If you have any questions, need additional information or would like to arrange an interview, please contact:

Jason Schellhardt
Director of Communications
Telephone: 410-841-5888

Megan Guilfoyle
Public Information Officer
Telephone: 410-841-5889

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