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Phosphorous ban on turfgrass is misguided says professor

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Golf courses around the nation are being affected by phosphorous bans
Golf courses around the nation are being affected by phosphorous bans

The banning of the use of fertilizer phosphorous has been increasing throughout the country, but a professor of soil science says the bans ignore the real issue.

Wayne Kussow an emeritus professor in the Department of Soil Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says in a piece for Environment & Climate News that the bans are often well intentioned - with the purpose of curbing algae growth by cutting its access to phosphorous.

Kussow says people will look at the high phosphorous levels of a body of water and question where it comes from. Most times, their immediate answer is fertilizer.

"However, researchers have consistently found higher phosphorus loads from unfertilized than fertilized turfgrass," writes Kussow. "The Minnesota, New York, and Wisconsin research has shown on average 95 percent of the annual phosphorus load from turfgrass is collected in the winter months and several months after the most recent fertilizer phosphorus application."

Last week the Wisconsin Assembly Natural Resources Committee voted to approve a bill that would ban phosphorous from lawn fertilizers in the state, according to the Associated Press. In order to become law the bill must pass the state Assembly, Senate and be signed by Wisconsin governor Jim Doyle.ADNFCR-2034-ID-19033709-ADNFCR

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