I thought I knew the answer to this question, but I've learned it's more complicated than I thought. Do you need a license to fertilize in Illinois. Prepare to be bewildered like I am.

This question came up on the website Lawnsite. It was a simple wondering "Do you need a license in Illinois to put down fertilizer?". The answers were varied and wild. One of the commenters pointed to an application in Illinois which I verified is legitimately from the Illinois Department of Agriculture. It says (and I quote) "Fertilizer License Application - Whose name appears on the label or invoice shall apply for
a license prior to the distribution of a fertilizer in Illinois"

Oh, but wait...there's more. At the bottom it says "Lawn care applicators for hire are exempt from licensing."

Common sense would tell me that you would NOT need a license to fertilize your own yard in Illinois, but a professional isn't required to either? Why then the application and the $100 fee for doing so?

A man named J. Baker added needed insight, but it brings up more questions:

"I’m in Illinois. Fertilizer is a gray area. Probably best to have an applicators license since you are doing it for hire. If you don’t have the certs and someone asks/ turn you in I would say it would depend on the guy whether you get in trouble or not. All licensing is done through the U of I Ag extension. Classes are online. Tests are online or in person. It’s a real headache."

So do you need a license or don't you to fertilize in Illinois? This really shouldn't be this hard. Perhaps best to reach out to the University of Illinois Agriculture Extension Service if you're afraid of getting tackled by the fertilizer cops.