AMHERST, Mass. — The University of Massachusetts Turfgrass Program advises all agricultural producers as well as turf and landscape practitioners in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to stay up to date with changing nutrient management requirements in the state. Chapter 262 of the Acts of 2012 authorized the enactment of new statewide nutrient management regulations by the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture (MDAR). The text of the enabling legislation can be found here.

Chapter 262 requires MDAR to ensure that subsequent regulations relative to plant nutrients are consistent with UMass Extension’s published information, educational materials and other public outreach programs relative to nutrient management and fertilizer. UMass Extension in 2013 conducted a thorough review of the body of available technical information in regard to nutrients and fertilizers to verify that all published standards were sound and up-to-date.  Nutrient management information compiled in conjunction with this review can be found below under the “UMass Extension Nutrient Best Management Practices” heading. In response to the enabling legislation, MDAR developed and wrote regulation 330 CMR 31.00: Plant Nutrient Application Requirements for Agricultural Land and Land Not Used for Agricultural Purposes. The regulation gives MDAR state-wide authority to regulate and enforce the registration and application of plant nutrients including, but not limited to, fertilizer, manure and micronutrients.  The Cape Cod Commission, Martha’s Vineyard Commission and Nantucket Commission have the option to adopt their own ordinances in regard to nutrients and fertilizers, but they cannot be less restrictive than the state regulation.

Nutrient regulations in process as of February 2015:

State-Wide:

  • Massachusetts state-wide regulation (330 CMR 31.00): Proposed regulation was released and public comment was taken from February 2014 through July 4, 2014. The proposed regulation as developed by MDAR: 1.usa.gov/1g0i0DE . Please note that as of February 2015 neither the final regulation nor a projected effective date has been released. For further information contact the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture at 617-626-1700.

Cape Cod:

  • Cape Cod Commission: Model bylaw has been developed, adoption is at the discretion of individual communities in the district. Final Cape Cod model bylaw: bit.ly/1f7aF70. For more information, visit www.capecodcommission.org or call 508-362-3828.
  • The following Cape Cod municipalities, under the purview of the Cape Cod Commission, have either passed ordinances regarding the application of fertilizer or had ordinances “grandfathered” in. For more information on the details and status of these regulations contact the appropriate entity in each community.
    • Barnstable: Town Council
    • Brewster: Town Administrator and Board of  Selectmen
    • Chatham: Board of Health Eastham: Conservation Commission and Board of Health
    • Falmouth: Natural Resources. Regulation:  ecode360.com/27443489
    • Mashpee: Board of Selectmen. Regulation: bit.ly/1z7KNvP
    • Orleans: Town Administrator.  Regulation: ecode360.com/28460573
    • Provincetown:  Board of Health. Regulation:  bit.ly/1vEAQdr

The Islands:

  • Martha’s Vineyard Commission: An island-wide regulation has been approved. MV Fertilizer Initiative, including town regulation documents: www.mvboh.org/fertilizer.html. For more information, visit mvcommission.org or call 508-693-3453.
  • Nantucket Board of Health: Regulation in effect prior to enactment of statewide statute. Regulations require training and licensing of professional fertilizer applicators who must abide by the Best Management Practices for Landscape Fertilizer Use on Nantucket Island manual. Nantucket regulation (Nantucket Board of Health Rules and Regulations 75.00, Content and Application of Fertilizer on Nantucket): bit.ly/1ea42zZ . Best Management Practices for Landscape Fertilizer Use on Nantucket Island manual: bit.ly/1pb8dLr.