New York: Avoid lawn fertilizers with phosphorus


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ALBANY — State environmental officials are reminding New Yorkers not to use lawn fertilizers that contain phosphorus.

New York law prohibits the use of phosphorus fertilizers on lawns unless the lawn is being established or if a soil test shows that it is needed. The state law does not affect agricultural fertilizer or fertilizer for gardens.

Phosphorus can encourage the growth of algae in ponds and lakes, which is bad for drinking water and for fish.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation suggests that New Yorkers pay attention to phosphorus content when buying fertilizer. Fertilizer labels have three bold numbers, with the middle number representing the percentage of phosphorus in the product. So a bag with 22-0-15 printed on it has no phosphorus.

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