Md. bill to limit lawn fertilizer use

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A bill limiting the use of lawn fertilizers, a growing source of Chesapeake Bay pollution, is to be signed into law this week.

State, federal and industry officials plan to be in Annapolis on Thursday for the signing by Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley.

Lawns are being eyed in bay cleanup efforts because grass covers more acres in the bay watershed than any other crop, and is expected to soon exceed all other crops combined. And while fertilizers help lawns grow, they also harm water quality when they reach the bay.

The bill limits nitrogen in fertilizer used by most consumers, bans most phosphorus, restricts when it can be applied and establishes a certification program for commercial applicators.

Maryland joins Virginia, where a similar bill was signed into law this year.