Client News

Jacksonville Business Journal: Scotts Miracle Gro Meets Commitment on Phosphorus-Free Lawn Fertilizers

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (NYSE: SMG) today announced it has achieved its goal of removing phosphorus from its category-leading Turf Builder® brand lawn food maintenance products.  The commitment was first announced on World Water Day in 2011 as a partial solution to nutrient runoff that can lead to excessive algae growth in waterways, and it marked a major sustainability milestone in the lawn and garden category.

“In 2011 we announced that production of our conventional Turf Builder® brand lawn food would be phosphorus-free by this season,” said ScottsMiracle-Gro chief marketing officer Jim Lyski. “As consumers feed their lawns this spring, they should know they can get great results from our products while also protecting and preserving our water resources.”

The 2011 phosphorus-free announcement marked the expansion of a commitment made by the company in 2006 to stakeholders in the Chesapeake Bay area that phosphorus content in lawn foods would be reduced by fifty percent.  For perspective, over ten thousand tons of phosphorus was used to produce Turf Builder brand lawn food products in 2003.  Now, ten years later, that amount is zero, as the company determined that the typical, established lawn has an adequate amount of phosphorus to support healthy grass.

“We are committed to ensuring sustainable water supplies for generations to come, and going phosphorus free was a commitment we were proud to make,” said Scotts’ global research and development leader Bruce Caldwell.  “Our associates’ enthusiasm for this initiative has been tremendous and we also want to thank the environmental stakeholders we’ve worked with to make it possible.”

Because phosphorus is essential to the initial root development of grass plants, the nutrient will remain in Scotts’ starter fertilizers for new lawns and also in the company’s lines of organic lawn food, as it naturally occurs in the organic materials contained in the products.  Lyski said he anticipates any maintenance products containing phosphorous held over from last season’s inventory will quickly sell through at retail this spring.

In addition, the company has also made progress on its 2011 commitment to new consumer communication and education initiatives targeting water quality and conservation, including:

  • Partnering with the National Association of Conservation Districts to educate homeowners on sustainable lawn care practices through a Backyard Conservation program.
  • Last spring in Texas, Scotts launched Texas Water Smart®, a public/private partnership that has become the state’s largest consumer water conservation and education initiative in just over a year, leveraging the company’s marketing expertise and resources to help bring critical water conservation messaging to consumers across the drought-plagued state. The initiative, which includes advertising, point of sale information, educational materials and workshops, now includes hundreds of elected officials, including Texas Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples.  It also counts many water authority officials, major retailers, industry representatives and other utilities and companies committed to drought relief
  • Taking advantage of the direct to consumer education opportunity, Turf Builder®  brand product packaging now includes environmental stewardship practices for consumers
  • Annually, the company’s consumer call center helps hundreds of thousands of homeowners properly use and apply lawn food products in their own lawns
  • Beginning this week in Florida, Scotts radio advertising will carry a message reminding consumers to keep lawn food products on lawns, where they help to grow healthy grass, and off of driveways and impervious surfaces where they could be washed away into local waterways.

The company’s commitment to water quality has also been demonstrated in its market-leading applicator innovations like its EdgeGuard®  technology and SNAP®  spreader system that help consumers make sure fertilizer stays on their lawns and that the right amounts are applied.

Caldwell concluded:  “Our company’s mission is to help people of all ages express themselves on their own piece of the earth, and we want to do everything we can to help our consumers use our products responsibly in the environment.”

For additional information on ScottsMiracle-Gro’s corporate responsibility initiatives, visit, or

About ScottsMiracle-Gro

With more than $2.8 billion in worldwide sales, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, The Scotts Company LLC, is the world’s largest marketer of branded consumer products for lawn and garden care. The Company’s brands are the most recognized in the industry. In the U.S., the Company’s Scotts®, Miracle-Gro® and Ortho® brands are market-leading in their categories, as is the consumer Roundup® brand, which is marketed in North America and most of Europe exclusively by Scotts and owned by Monsanto. In the U.S., we operate Scotts LawnService®, the second largest residential lawn care service business.  In Europe, the Company’s brands include Weedol®, Pathclear®, Evergreen®, Levington®, Miracle-Gro®, KB®, Fertiligene® and Substral®. For additional information, visit us at

« Return to News