The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is the lead state agency for all aspects of pesticide and fertilizer environmental and regulatory functions. These authorities are described in Minnesota Statutes §§ 18B, 18C, 18D and 103H.
Since 1993, the MDA, in cooperation with other organizations, has gathered information on homeowner use of pesticides and fertilizers. Educational materials have been developed to promote public awareness of lawn practices and their potential to affect water quality. These educational materials incorporate the concept that everyone lives in a watershed and has opportunities to protect the quality of Minnesota’s water during their work, home, and recreational activities.
To protect water quality, using phosphorus fertilizer on lawns is restricted in Minnesota. Look for the zero in the middle and use a lawn fertilizer labeled phosphorus-free unless you are seeding a new lawn, or have a soil test showing phosphorus is needed.
In 2002 Minnesota became the first state in the nation to regulate phosphorus fertilizer use on lawns and turf. Phosphorus is a nutrient that can cause over-enrichment of lakes, rivers, and wetlands. Phosphorus fertilizer cannot be used on lawns and turf in Minnesota unless specific conditions exist. Leftover phosphorus lawn fertilizer must be handled properly.
Minnesota Phosphorus Lawn Fertilizer Law
Various state, local and private entities have had interest in controlling phosphorus fertilizer use on lawns and turf out of a concern for protecting water quality. This interest culminated in a 2002 state law restricting use of phosphorus fertilizer on lawns and turf.
The law preempts (takes authority over) ordinances of local units of government that regulate the sale and use of phosphorus fertilizer except for local ordinances regulating the sale of lawn fertilizers that were in place before August 1, 2002.