ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland Department of Agriculture reminds residents and lawn care professionals that fertilizer blackout dates authorized by the state’s Lawn Fertilizer Law began Nov. 16 and run through Feb. 28.

According to a news release, Maryland’s Lawn Fertilizer Law prohibits residents from fertilizing lawns with products containing phosphorus or nitrogen between the specified blackout dates.

An exception exists for lawncare professionals, who may apply up to 0.5 pound of soluble or insoluble nitrogen per 1,000 square feet to lawns they manage until Dec. 1.

Potassium and lime may still be applied during the blackout dates since they are not considered a threat to water quality.

Citizens and lawncare 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 residents that it is prohibited to use fertilizer products to melt ice and snow on steps, sidewalks, driveways and 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, the release states.

For more information about Maryland’s Lawn Fertilizer Law and fertilizer best management practices, visit mda.maryland.gov/ fertilizer.

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