The bill - artfully called "the NJ Fertilizer Law" - puts many 'best management practices' (aka, actions that experts, academics, and scientists already recommend everyone should be doing) into law.
- Consumer lawn fertilizer sold or used in NJ must have at least 20 % of its nitrogen in “slow-release” form (ensures more of the fertilizer stays in the soil, not in the bays, lakes, and rivers)
- Phosphorus is banned from lawn fertilizer with some exceptions (keeps an unneeded chemical out of our waterways)
- Fertilizer application from Nov. 15th – Mar. 1st is prohibited (licensed professionals may apply through Dec. 1st) (fertilizers applied in winter have little lawn benefit, but huge environmental drawbacks)
- Fertilizer application when the ground is frozen, right before a heavy rainfall, or onto surfaces like sidewalks, driveways, and the street is prohibited at all times (makes sure fertilizer will not be used in a way that essentially direct-delivers it to our state's waterways)
- A waterway buffer of 25 feet (with some exceptions) is established (meaning you cannot apply fertilizer within that distance of a river, lake, pond, etc) (keeps waterways clear)
- A Rutgers-managed professionals' licensing system is established to train, test, and license professionals in the state (ensures anyone handling fertilizer for-pay in the state knows what they are doing!)
The provisions of the law on behavioral bans (when and where you can and cannot put fertilizer) have been in effect for a year, and the professionals' online training and licensing program has also been active for a while.
The final step of the law - which went into effect on the 5th, dealt with the content of fertilizer available for sale in state. Any products entering the state from here on will now have limits on the amount of nitrogen per bag, minimums for slow-release nitrogen in each bag, and, in most cases, will not have phosphorous-based compounds.