• 27 May 2019 5:08 AM | Ben Ellis (Administrator)
    • Washington Post May 3 coverage of the Court of Special Appeals decision upholding Montgomery County’s pesticide use ban






      On May 2, 2019, the Court of Special Appeals for Maryland upheld Montgomery County, Maryland’s ban on the use by licensed professionals and consumers of all EPA-registered pesticides on private lawns and landscapes. This decision:

      • Overturned the Montgomery County Circuit Court’s August 2017 ruling we received along with co-plaintiffs that the county’s private property use ban was preempted by existing state law and Maryland Department of Agriculture’s comprehensive regulatory program.

      ·          Gives broad authority to localities to regulate virtually any pesticide use on any property in Maryland, providing a basis for expansion of Montgomery County’s ban and for new bans across the state.

    ·          Absent further court action, the County ban will go into effect and will be fully enforceable as soon as June 3, 2019.  Companies and private citizens in Montgomery County would then face civil and criminal enforcement for any pesticide use in violation of the County ordinance.

    The next step is petitioning Maryland’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, to undertake a review of the Court of Special Appeals decision. This court takes at its discretion some 20-25 percent of cases for review with those cases having met the standard of being in the public interest of the people of Maryland.


    To persuade the Court of Appeals to hear the case, we need to explain the practical impacts on residents and businesses if each Maryland locality is authorized to adopt its own bans of EPA- and State-approved pesticide products.  If the Court of Appeals refuses to take this case, no further appeal is available to us and the ruling will remain as binding state-wide precedent regarding the scope of local authority to regulate pesticides. Your support is essential to any effort to seek to reverse the Court of Special Appeals’ decision.

    As before, we are building a coalition of Friends of the Court (Amici) to show the Appellate Judges that there are many Maryland stakeholders who support the responsible use of pesticides under State and federal law, and who oppose local laws that attempt to countermand State law. We have plans to expand our group to even more interested parties. Please also connect me with other stakeholders in Maryland, and I will reach out to them.


    Karen Reardon

    Vice President, Public Affairs


    1156 15th St. N.W.

    Washington, D.C. 20005


    O 202-872-3893

    M 202-595-4964

     MoCo Appeal Call for Support 5-22-19.pdf -Click Link for more more details. 

  • 13 May 2019 12:26 PM | Ben Ellis (Administrator)


    In response to a troubling trend of poisonings on the Eastern Shore, the Maryland Department of Agriculture is reminding all farmers, applicators, and retailers that the use and sale of carbofuran (commonly known as Furadan) is ILLEGAL under state and federal law. Violations of Maryland’s Pesticide Applicator Law are subject to a fine of up to $25,000 and/or prison. Violators may also be subject to further penalties from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    On December 31, 2009, the EPA revoked all food tolerances for the pesticide carbofuran, equating to a ban of the product. While it is not illegal to possess an unregistered or banned pesticide, it must be stored in compliance with state regulations and may not be used, sold or traded. We urge any individual in possession of carbofuran to responsibly dispose of the pesticide immediately.

    For directions on proper disposal of pesticides, contact the Department’s Pesticide Regulation Section at 410-841-5710 or pest.reg@maryland.gov.

    The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) are investigating recent carbofuran poisoning events in Kent and Talbot counties that have killed at least seven bald eagles and one horned owl. These are the latest in a string of similar incidents dating back to February 2016, when 13 bald eagles were poisoned under similar circumstances in Caroline County.

    The department urges anyone with relevant and specific information to come forward. USFWS has offered a reward of up to $10,000 to eligible individuals for information that furthers this investigation.

    Citizens who know about illegal fishing and hunting activities as well as the illegal killing of wildlife can make an anonymous report, 24/7, to Maryland Wildlife Crime Stoppers by calling or texting, 443-433-4112, email mwc.dnr@maryland.gov, or report violations using DNR’s free mobile app.

    Update your subscriptions, modify your password or email address, or stop subscriptions at any time on your Subscriber Preferences Page. You will need to use your email address to log in. If you have questions or problems with the subscription service, please visit Help.

    This service is provided to you at no charge by Maryland Department of Agriculture.

  • 01 Oct 2018 5:31 AM | Ben Ellis (Administrator)

        NEWS RELEASE www.mda.maryland.gov

    Office of the Secretary  50 Harry S. Truman Parkway   Annapolis, Maryland 21401                                                                                             

    Changes to Lawn Fertilizer Law to take Effect October

    Annapolis, MD—(September 14, 2018) The Maryland Department of Agriculture has announced that new regulations regarding the use of fertilizer products will take effect October 1, 2018 as a result of changes made to Maryland’s Lawn Fertilizer Law during the 2018 session of the Maryland General Assembly. The changes make the regulations regarding organic fertilizer products consistent with those for synthetic products. Additionally, they give professional fertilizer applicators more choices in the products they can use.  Specifically, the new law:  

    ·         Allows lawn care professionals to apply up to 0.5 pound of soluble or insoluble nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. from November 15 through December 1. Currently only soluble nitrogen is allowed during this time period.

    ·         Removes the requirement that organic fertilizer products be “low phosphate.” The change allows these products to be applied according to University of Maryland recommendations and soil test results.

    The Fertilizer Use Act of 2011—also known as Maryland’s Lawn Fertilizer Law—authorizes the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Nutrient Management Program to regulate the use of fertilizer on turf not used for agricultural purposes. It requires both homeowners and lawn care professionals to follow University of Maryland fertilizer recommendations and use best management practices when fertilizing lawns. In addition, the law requires lawn care professionals to be licensed and certified by the Maryland Department of Agriculture to apply fertilizer to the properties they manage. The department maintains a list of certified lawn care professionals along with additional information on Maryland’s Lawn Fertilizer Law on its website at www.mda.maryland.gov/fertilizer.


  • 03 Mar 2018 3:26 PM | Ben Ellis (Administrator)

    Dear Turfgrass Field Professionals,

    We need you!  To educate legislators on durable grass fields and funding for grass fields​ - to tell them that GRASS CAN TAKE IT!

    Please​ consider writing testimony and perhaps testifying in person March 7. Either way-  If you want Senator Manno’s office to make and deliver the required 30 copies for you please see instructions below and email the testimony to roger.manno@senate.state.md.us  no later than NOON on March 5th. Please also cc michelskm2016@gmail.com  shpfc.contact@gmail.com and  sheldon.fishman@gmail.com

    (and just a warning- as soon as you talk about $50,000 per year or more for  maintenance they jump on it as "grass can’t take it"  because the high cost of grass maintenance vs quoted $10,000 for synturf which needs more maintenance to be safe but often doesn’t get that maintenance or testing 


    WE NEED TO ADD GRASS and GRASS BUSINESS INFO to our message. Please recommend additional references and language)

    Who will be resubmitting/ submitting written​ testimony by March 5 (see instructions below)​?

    WE NEED to add more ​athletes, coaches, GRASS INDUSTRY/ BUSINESS EXPERTS and PARENTS who will be able to testify March 7 for the Senate Bill  1 pm

    PLEASE WRITE and PLEASE INVITE OTHERS TO WRITE -In just ten minutes, you can make a HUGE difference to protect both children and the environment from hazardous materials on sports fields and playgrounds.
    Please provide Testimony on:  SB0763:  "Use of Public Funds - Playground and Athletic Field Surfaces - Preferences and Prohibitions" 
    On March 7th, at 1 PM.  SB 0763 will be presented in the Maryland State Senate.

    “Establishing a preference for the use of state-of-the-art natural surface materials in any projects to construct playgrounds or athletic fields using public funds; prohibiting the use of State funds to finance any portion of a project to build a new, or replace an existing, playground or athletic field with a synthetic surface; and providing for the prospective application of the Act.”
    Some background:
    If you want to do some more research or want more information please see:
     Www.safehealthyplayingfields.org ; Www.ehhi.org;  Www.synturf.org

    By the end of 2018 at least 100 million pounds of plastic and tire waste will have entered air water and landfills from disposal of synthetic turf fields. An equivalent amount of petroleum-based plastic will be used to create new fields. Children face unique risks from toxins, heat, hardness and abrasions playing on plastic fields (with any kind of infill) or playgrounds made from tires. Infection due to abrasions is one major risk). For a good overview about the health hazards see:  http://www.center4research.org/nchr-letter-dc-city-council-artificial-turf/. Here are some basic background documents:
     Instructions on how to submit your testimonial:

    1. ​​Modify the letter below (attached word document) as you wish but please keep all the header and information and include  your full address and contact information.  Try to include personal experience or concerns.
    1. Paste your letter into an email. and add the letter as an attachment to the email.
    2. Address the email (with attached/included letter) to Senator Manno roger.manno@senate.state.md.us  and CC: your state senator  (or at least give your full snail mail address so your district can be ascertained. You can look up your state senator using this link and typing in your address: http://mdelect.net)
    3. PLEASE CC: michelskm2016@gmail.com, shpfc.contact@gmail.com  and sheldon.fishman@gmail.com , the volunteers who will coordinate in Annapolis on March 7th. 
    4. Send!

    Testimony Letter Format Click Here

  • 14 Jan 2018 7:11 AM | Ben Ellis (Administrator)

    MTC Board of Directors Needed

    • You have a passion for the Turfgrass Industry!
    • You want to help make a difference in the future of the industry!
    • You enjoy connecting with other members of the industry!
    • Why not make a difference as a member of the MTC Board of Directors
    There are two positions available. One as a 3 year Director and one as a 2 year Director on the MTC Board.

    What is required?
    • The Board of Directors meet one late afternoon a month, normally at the Maryland Department of Agriculture (Annapolis) or The University of Maryland Turfgrass Research Farm (College Park).
    • Desire to communicate with other Board members in person or over email.
    • Need to possess a passion for the Turfgrass Industry and desire to spread Turfgrass education and benefits across the State.

    How to Become a MTC Board of Director
    • Drop an e-mail or call Vernon Cooper at Execdir@mdturfcouncil.com or 410-745-9643 and express your desires.
    • At the Annual Meeting during the Mid-Atlantic Turfgrass Expo, last week of Jan, all interested persons will be presented and the two positions filled (you do not have to be present to be elected).

    Please send all information and / or have any further questions to: Vernon Cooper at Execdir@mdturfcouncil.com or 410-745-9643.

  • 12 Aug 2017 4:20 PM | Ben Ellis (Administrator)

    Court strikes down Montgomery County’s ban on lawn pesticides

    Image result for home lawn pesticide

    By Rachel Chason August 3 

    Original Article by The Washington Post

    A Montgomery Circuit Court judge on Thursday overturned the county’s ban on the use of cosmetic pesticides on lawns, dealing a major setback to environmental advocates who argued that chemicals in the products are unsafe.

    Judge Terrence McGann said that the law — the first of its kind for a major locality in the region — would conflict with federal and Maryland state regulations that allow the use of the pesticides. The case was just one example of Maryland counties’ “insatiable appetite to tamper with existing state laws,” McGann said.

    Counties have also “tried to hijack a portion of the existing field of law” in areas including tobacco, guns and minimum wage, he said.

    The law, passed by a divided County Council in 2015, was to take effect in 2018. It bans pesticides that have been approved by the federal government but contain chemicals that some studies say may cause cancer. The law exempts agricultural land, gardens and golf courses, and does not prohibit the sale of lawn pesticides in the county.

    A provision of the bill eliminating the use of herbicides and pesticides on certain county properties, which was not part of the lawsuit filed by a group of homeowners and pesticide companies, took effect in July.

    Council member George Leventhal (D-At Large), the bill’s chief sponsor and a candidate for county executive in 2018, said he was “very disappointed” by McGann’s ruling, which he said “sets a worrisome precedent for the ability of local governments to protect their residents on vital issues of health and safety.”

    The county has 30 days to appeal McGann’s ruling.

    Timothy Maloney, an attorney for the plaintiffs, including Scotts Co., a major manufacturer of lawn-care products, called the ruling a “significant victory for consumer safety.”

    If the ban had been upheld, he said, it would have set a legal precedent for the 187 jurisdictions in Maryland to have their own regulatory systems for pesticides.

    “There would have been total chaos and confusion in the marketplace,” he said.

    McGann said the desire to “avoid confusion from diverse requirements” that could endanger public health is the reason that the state legislature adopted pesticide rules that work with federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations. The Montgomery County ordinance, he said, would disrupt the uniformity established by the legislature.

    But environmentalists who support the ban say federal regulations are inadequate — especially now that the EPA under President Trump is rolling back some Obama-era regulations.

    “Look at the EPA right now: It is a weak institution,” said Julie Taddeo, an environmental activist and leader of Safe Grow Montgomery who was in court for the ruling. “It’s not doing enough to protect our kids.”

    She accused McGann — who frequently makes jokes from the bench and on Thursday quipped that pesticide label-reading was a “cure for insomnia” — of not taking activists’ concerns seriously.

    Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner (D), who also is running for county executive, said he has asked the county attorney to advise the council on whether to appeal the decision and on other possible legal options for reducing residents’ exposure to chemicals.

    “With federal safeguards in the areas of public health and environmental protection dwindling, I believe that it is more important than ever for county government to work to protect the health and safety of its residents and our environment,” Berliner said in a statement.


    Maloney scoffed at an appeal as “a tremendous waste of taxpayer dollars.” Trump’s election, he said, does not change the “well-established findings and protocols on pesticides” that exist across the United States.

  • 21 Jun 2017 7:54 PM | Ben Ellis (Administrator)

  • 21 Mar 2017 7:19 PM | Ben Ellis (Administrator)
    Fun day and a good turnout of about 100 turf professionals for the Mid-Atlantic STMA meeting at Camden Yards today. The new bluegrass sod installed last fall looks great!  

    Thanks to the Orioles for hosting and the MASTMA executive and education committees for organizing a great event! Fun day and a good turnout of about 100 turf professionals for the Mid-Atlantic STMA meeting at Camden Yards today. The new bluegrass sod installed last fall looks great!

    Thanks to the Orioles for hosting and the MASTMA executive and education committees for organizing a great event!
    - Geoff Rinehart

  • 14 Mar 2017 6:55 AM | Ben Ellis (Administrator)
    Mid-Atlantic Sports Turf Managers Association

    Membership Drive at Camden Yards on St. Patrick's Day!


    March 17, 2017
    9:00 AM - 1:30 PM


    $0.00 Members

    $25 Non-Members


    Camden Yards
    333 W Camden St.
    Baltimore, MD 21201





    MASTMA brings you the luck of the Irish next week on St. Patrick’s Day in the heart of Baltimore City. 


    Check out our speakers:

    Ryan Bjorn, Maryland SoccerPlex, MASTMA President

    Ryan will discuss the progress of the newly formed MASTMA, introduce you to the Board of Directors, highlight member benefits, and give you a sneak peek into what MASTMA has to offer its members in 2017.

    Dr. Joseph Roberts, University of College Park, MASTMA Board Member

    Dr. Roberts will provide a brief overview of turf microbiology as it pertains to turfgrass health, discuss current industry trends that have a significant impact on altering soil microflora, and gain insight from the audience on future directions for useful turfgrass research projects.

    Nicole McFadyen, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, MASTMA Secretary

    Nicole will discuss the challenges with the unique surface at Oriole Park and the factors that contributed to the decision to install a new playing surface in December.  She will provide an on-field equipment demonstration and give us a “behind the scenes” tour of this iconic facility.


    This amazing morning closes with lunch, networking, and Q&A session with these esteemed turf industry professionals.  This is your opportunity to learn from the best! Join your MASTMA friends after the event for green beer.

    You don’t want to miss this unique opportunity at Camden Yards on St. Patrick's Day.  We hope you can join us! 


    Register Now

    Cost of admission is FREE to members!  Complete yourmember application online now.  Don’t forget to return to the event page to register.

    Not ready to join?  No problem!  Come check us out for a nominal $25 event registration fee. 

The Maryland Turfgrass Council      P.O. Box 389, St. Michaels, MD 21663   Phone: (443) 742-6618       

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