Grass only really needs phosphorus when it’s first establishing itself. And once your grass has taken root, once it’s already seated, it doesn’t need any more phosphorus. So what does phosphorus do for grass?
Most Indiana lawns actually have excessive levels of phosphorus. A study of Purdue showed that 87 percent of Tippecanoe County longs had adequate or high levels of phosphorus, which means if every single person in Tippecanoe County used a phosphorus lawn fertilizer then 87 percent of them were wasting money.
What happens to all that extra phosphorus? Most of the time, the excess phosphorus is going to either go into your sewer system if you live in a city, where it’s going to wash straight up into the waterways which means you now have a situation where your water body is loaded with excess phosphorus and the most common result of that overloading is an algae bloom.
If you are going to any gardening store, any department store then you should find phosphorus, free fertilizers right next to the regular fertilizers. And the costs should be very comparable.
Indiana actually has a very good history of phosphorus fans. We were one of the first states to ban phosphorus in laundry detergents. We did that to protect our water quality.
Indiana is relatively famous for our Lakes, not only Lake Michigan but also lakes in Steuben County in Kosciusko County. In the Indianapolis area when we’re looking at water quality it’s worth to take an extra step in protecting the water quality.
As far as the consumer goes, it’s not going to have a major impact, it just means that people who sell fertilizers are going to need to provide phosphorus free lawn fertilizers first.
Representative dodge has authored a bill that would restrict the use of phosphorus and lawn fertilizers. It would make certain that if you are fertilizing you’re using the phosphorus responsibly. You would only be using it on a new lawn, not an established lawn and you wouldn’t be able to use it in the spring.
Unfortunately, that bill was not heard in the house so the Hoosier Environmental Council is working to make sure that it is amended and added in two different phosphorus legislation and fertilizer legislation.