Fertilizer Guidelines

On January 1, 2013 a Town of Nantucket Board of Health regulation went into effect to control the content and application of fertilizer containing phosphorus and nitrogen. The purpose of this regulation is to improve and restore the quality of Nantucket’s water resources. It provides for a reduction of nitrogen and phosphorus into Nantucket’s waters and wetlands through an organized educational program, licensure and regulations of practice.

The “Best Management Practices for Landscape Fertilizer Use on Nantucket” (also known as BMP) is an integral part of the new regulation. The recommendations and guidelines presented in the document reflect the experience and knowledge of Nantucket landscape professionals and have been peer reviewed by soil and turf scientists and educators.

Fertilizer Application Standards for Property Owners:

  • Applicators shall not apply fertilizer immediately before or during heavy rainfall
  • Applicators shall not apply fertilizer between October 16th and the following April 14th
  • An Applicator shall not apply more than 0.25 lb per 1000 sq. ft. of fast-release nitrogen fertilizer in any one application.
  • An Applicator shall not apply fertilizer that contains phosphorus, unless a soil test indicates a phosphorus deficiency and it is applied in conformance with the Nantucket Best Management Practices.
  • Applications of compost, which contain phosphorus, may only be applied in conformance with the Nantucket Best Management Practices.
  • A single application of nitrogen for turf shall not exceed 0.5 pounds of actual nitrogen per thousand square feet and the annual rate shall not exceed 3.0 pounds of actual nitrogen per thousand square feet.
  • A single application for trees, shrubs, herbs and other ornamental plantings shall not exceed 0.5 pounds of actual nitrogen per thousand square feet. The annual rate shall not exceed 2.0 pounds of actual nitrogen per thousand square feet.
  • If applying fertilizer, applications of nitrogen shall be done at intervals of no less than two weeks until the maximum is reached.
  • All applications of fertilizer by a Commercial Applicator (landscaper) shall be in accordance with the Nantucket Best Management, as amended, at the time of the application.

Download the 65 page Fertilizer Best Management Practices(PDF)

A free hard copy is also available in English and Spanish from the NLC office or the Town of Nantucket Natural Resources Department.

Find out more about the Town of Nantucket Fertilizer Program, Regulations and Commercial Application License Program here.