In October 2015, the Montgomery County Council approved Bill 52-14. This bill placed a ban on a majority of state-approved pesticides used on private lawns and landscapes throughout the county.
During the nearly six years that followed, the ban was temporarily put on hold following legal disputes. Then, on May 2, 2019, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals officially upheld it, reversing the ban.
At BAMS Landscaping, we’re dedicated to navigating the new Montgomery County Maryland Pesticide Law effectively. In addition to using organic products, we’ve also adjusted our operations to ensure compliance with this new regulation.
Today, we’re taking a look at the basics behind this law, along with the steps we’ve taken in response to it.
What is the New Montgomery County Maryland Pesticide Law?
The Montgomery County Maryland pesticide law is an official regulation that restricts the use of certain synthetic pesticides on private lawns. In addition, the law also extends to certain local landscapes, including:
- Childcare facilities
- Mulched recreation areas
The basis of the law is that in lieu of such pesticides, homeowners and lawn care management companies should use organic or minimum-risk herbicides, fungicides, or insecticides to prevent weeds and pests.
What is the Purpose of This Law?
The purpose and goal of this law are to inform the public about the potential hazards that certain pesticides could pose to both people and the environment.
In addition to educating about proper pesticide applications, the law also seeks to minimize the use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes.
By embracing organic lawn care, lawmakers explain that homeowners can contribute to a host of beneficial changes, including:
- Offsetting climate change
- Improving air quality
- Improving stormwater capturing and infiltrating
- Treating pollutants in runoff
- Producing more oxygen
- Controlling erosion
- Protecting local wildlife and habitats
An organic lawn is one that is controlled by monitoring the natural biological land cycles. This approach is preferred over using synthetic chemicals to promote growth and eliminate pests and weeds.
What is Banned Under This Law?
There are several different kinds of commonly used pesticides now banned under this new law. These include any products with the following identifiers on their label.
Weed and Feed Products
Weed and feed products are those that contain both herbicide and fertilizer. Regardless of the product type, none of these are allowed under the new law.
Products with an EPA Reg. No. on Label
Most of the time, a pesticide that includes an EPA Regulation Number (EPA Reg. No.) on the label will be included on the banned list. This is because these products contain chemicals that are not safe or suitable for use on your lawn.
However, there are certain products that contain this label but are still considered exempt. You can contact the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) if you’re unsure about yours.
What is Allowed Under This Law?
While certain products are banned under the new law, there are some that are still allowed. Here are the ones to look for.
OMRI Certified Products
The acronym OMRI stands for the Organic Materials Review Institute. Most products that have achieved OMRI certification will include this logo on their products.
The OMRI helps regulate which input products can be used in organic production and processing. If your solution has this logo, it is exempt from the current ban.
Products for Organic Gardening
Did you know that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designates some products specifically for use in organic crop production? These are allowed under the new law, but identifying them can be tricky.
These exempt products do contain an EPA registration number on their label, which can create confusion. To help sort it out, look for verbiage that designates your product for use in organic gardening.
Some EPA-Exempt Products
As mentioned, if a pesticide contains an EPA Reg. No. on its label, it’s likely prohibited under this law. At the same time, the absence of such a label usually means that the EPA designates the product as a low-risk and therefore doesn’t prohibit its use.
In addition to the absence of an EPA Reg. No., also look for an EPA-exempt or 25(b) statement on the product’s label. Usually, these will be easy to find on the outside of the packaging.
How is BAMS Landscaping Responding?
At BAMS Landscaping, we provide a wide range of services for our customers, including:
- Basic grounds maintenance
- Customized turf programs
- Lawn and garden services
Our turf programs include fertilization, weed control, topdressing, and a range of related services. Rather than relying on generic, cookie-cutter approaches, we take the time to develop a tailored program designed around your unique soil needs and specific lawn environment.
For years, we’ve been proud to follow the approaches set forth by Integrated Pest Management (IPM).
This is a set of principles that provides an environmentally sensitive approach to lawn care and pest management. Through IPM, we are able to minimize our use of unnecessary chemical products. Instead, we follow proven tactics that leave your yard looking lush, naturally.
Due to our early adoption of IPM best practices, we were already well-positioned to embrace the new Montgomery County Pesticide Law. We didn’t have to overhaul our business model or rearrange our service offerings to meet these regulations. Instead, we were able to make a few small adjustments, always keeping our customers front of mind.
Moving forward, in compliance with the law, we are banning the use of all herbicides, pesticides, and other products that are not allowed under the new regulation. Instead, we are dedicated to using organic solutions that will allow us to continue serving our local area.
Trust Us for Your Organic Lawn Care Needs
Our team at BAMS Landscaping has always prioritized environmentally-friendly approaches to lawn care.
While the new Montgomery County Maryland Pesticide Law might add further restrictions, we’re prepared to navigate these changes with ease. If you’re looking for premium lawn and landscaping services you can trust, we’d love to connect.
Request a free quote today and let’s take this next step together.