Scott’s Proposal for
Phosphorous Reduction in
Prepared by Heidi Bonnaffon
May 11, 2006
The Chesapeake Bay Program’s Nutrient
Businesses for the Bay, and
the CSREES/Land Grant University Mid Atlantic
Water Quality Program (MAWQP)
have worked with Scotts for ~ 2 years to
reduce nutrient loss from “do it yourself” (DIY) lawn
Background on Fertilizer Loads
Urban nonpoint sources and account for
~1/4 phosphorus reaching the Bay
~1/8 nitrogen reaching the Bay
Retrofitting urban storm water is costly and new growth is
increasing urban loads
Targeting fertilizers may be the most efficient way to address
urban non-point pollution.
Home Lawn Care
Number of Home Lawns (millions)
Millions of Home Lawns
40 50% Do
None 1 2 3 4 Lawn
- - - D.I.Y. Applications Per Year - - - Service
Home Lawn Care – 2
Total Number of Applications (millions)
Millions of Applications
5 3 4
None 1 2 3 4
- - - D.I.Y. Applications Per Year - - -
National Bag Sales: 35 million
Avg. # Applications: 1.8 per year
Unit Sales by State:
Maryland --- 1 million bags
Virginia --- 0.9 million bags
Scotts Lawns % Sales in
State Fertilizer Sold CB Watershed
Millions of Pounds Millions of Pounds Millions of Pounds
Pennsylvania 47.16 50 6.84 0.71
Maryland 22.67 100 6.57 0.68
Virginia 19.90 100 5.77 0.60
New York 33.22 10 0.96 0.10
Delaware 2.95 50 0.43 0.04
West Virginia 2.20 5 0.03 0.00
District of Columbia 0.06 100 0.02 0.00
Total 128.16 20.62 2.13
* 29% average nitrogen concentration in fertilizers sold.
** 3% average phosphorus (P2O5) concentration in fertilizers sold.
The Scotts Miracle Gro Co. has discussed with the CBP
plans to reduce the P in its commercial lawn products
50% by 2009.
Scotts expects other major fertilizer companies to change their formulas
as a result of market pressure.
Over time, Scotts plans to address N reduction in their fertilizers.
Could equate ~1 million Ibs/year P reduction in lawn
applications in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
NSC Recommendations to Principal
Chesapeake Bay Program should enter into an
agreement with the “Do It Yourself” (DIY) lawn
fertilizer industry, led by The Scotts Miracle-Gro
1. endorse a 50% reduction in phosphorus in their
bagged DIY fertilizer lines
2. initiate discussions on nitrogen content and form
in DIY lawn fertilizers
3. work with the DIY lawn fertilizer industry and
major retail outlets to educate the public at the
point of sale on proper methods of fertilizer
Next Steps for CBP
Charge the Implementation Committee, through a
cooperative effort of the NSC, B4B, MAWQP and
Scotts/RISE, with drafting the proposed agreement
and the point of sale education program.
Campaign will be unveiled at the Executive Council
Meeting, with roll out at retail outlets Spring 2007.
It is further recommended that The Scotts Miracle-Gro
Company be recognized at the Executive Council for
their proactive leadership in this effort.
Potential Roles for COG
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company is also interested in ways to
partner with local governments.
Representatives of Scott’s will brief COG’s Chesapeake Bay
Policy Committee at its May 19 meeting.
Recommended Actions for CBPC
Sign an agreement between industry and COG member
governments pledging to work together to minimize
potential for pollution.
Local governments could conduct outreach/education
that Scotts and the rest of the commercial lawn care
industry have researched and are advocating.
NVRC Radio ad campaign vehicle or individually by local
Recommended Actions for CBPC
Demonstrate the use of reduced P fertilizers on county-
owned or city-owned properties, and possibly other
lawns with high-visibility.
As part of demonstration projects or other activities, conduct research
into the water quality impacts of following innovative lawn care
Universities with demo plots showing lawn care and nutrient reduction
results of lower P (lower N)
Potentially arrange industry training courses for county
and city employees (or their contractors) on how to
correctly apply fertilizers.