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The New Rules For Lawn Care In NJ


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Over the winter, New Jersey lawmakers passed a new law on fertilizers. While that might conjure up all sorts of bad jokes (we’ll pause here while you run them through your head), the bottom line is that the misuse of fertilizers has harmed New Jersey’s rivers and streams. In Verona, the Peckman lies almost dead center between two mountains, which means it stands to catch fertilizer washed off any lawns on either side of town.

Luckily, it’s easy to stay on the right side of the law now:

  • Only buy fertilizer that has at least 20% slow-release nitrogen;
  • Don’t put it on when it’s raining or about to rain;
  • Don’t put fertilizer on your lawn from November 15 to March 15.

And if you’re re-seeding your lawn this year, think about using a native New Jersey plant as a ground cover instead of a traditional suburban lawn grass. The New Jersey Native Plant Society has spreadsheets of appropriate plants for every county; look on the Essex County list for anything marked as a graminoid, like sedges, or herbs and low-growing plants like wintergreen, cranberry and trillium. These perennials will require less water and, best of all, no fertilizers.


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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]


  1. Other interesting options are wild ginger, sweet woodruff, and lungwort especially for shade.

  2. Last year the Master Gardeners had trillium at their plant sale. I also saw it at Cedar Grove nursery last season. Home Depot will sell it as Wake Robin (red trillium). Usually its something you have to order from a catalog.

    I have never seen wintergreen at a home depot or lowes. That you would catalog order or your better nursery may carry it. Cranberry (do you mean cottoneaster?) is more common and you may find that at a big box store, definitely at a local nursery.


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