GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — State officials are reminding people to check the label to make sure the fertilizer they’re using doesn’t include phosphorus, saying it can damage Michigan’s water.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says state law limits the use of phosphorus fertilizers. It warned that phosphorus runoff can get into water systems and damage ecosystems.
“It’s all about water quality. Phosphorus is a nutrient that is important to plants, but it also can have very negative impacts on water quality. Those impacts range from harming fish populations to making water smell bad and look bad to actually having negative health impacts upon people,” Mike Philip, MDARD’s pesticide and plant pest management division director, told News 8.
The agency urged residents to check the label on their fertilizer and make sure “available phosphate” is marked as 0%.
“Most plants don’t need added phosphorus,” Philip added. “It’s in the soil and the plants get it themselves, in most cases.”
MDARD also reminded people not to leave fertilizer on their driveways and instead sweep it into the lawn so it doesn’t run in to storm drains, to keep their storm drains clear of leaves and other debris and work to limit erosion.