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Soil and Plant Amendment

The Pennsylvania Soil and Plant Amendment Regulatory Program ensures consumers receive safe/effective soil and plant amendment materials that meet the quality and quantity guaranteed by the manufacturer/guarantor.  Inspectors conduct routine soil and plant amendment sampling and inspections; respond to consumer complaints; and enforce the laws and regulations that govern the manufacturing and distribution of soil and plant amendments.  Soil and plant amendments are registered by brand and product labels are reviewed for compliance with current labeling requirements and misleading claims.

On December 13, 2002, Governor Schweiker signed into law the current Pennsylvania Soil and Plant Amendment Act.  The provisions of this Act require a manufacturing or guarantor license, product registration, appropriate product labeling, inspection fees and tonnage reports.

A Soil Amendment is any substance which is intended to change the chemical or physical characteristics of soil.  A Plant Amendment is any substance applied to plants or seeds which are intended to improve germination, growth, yield, product quality, reproduction, flavor or other desirable characteristics of plants.

The terms do not include fertilizers, agricultural liming materials, unmanipulated animal and vegetable manure, pesticides and other materials that may be exempted by regulation, unless soil and/or plant amending ingredients are specifically included with the above products.

Multi-purpose products intended to supply plant nutrients, soil/plant amendments and/or liming materials must be labeled, licensed and registered (as required) under each respective law prior to being offered for sale, sold or distributed in Pennsylvania.

Soil and plant amendment materials are regulated through the product registration to ensure consumer safety and efficacy.  Samples are collected and analyzed to ensure products are currently registered, meet labeling requirements and are not adulterated.


A license is required for each soil and/or plant amendment manufacturing facility located in Pennsylvania and for each guarantor of a soil and/or plant amendment who distributes a product in Pennsylvania.  The annual licensing fee is twenty-five dollars ($25) per Pennsylvania fiscal year.  The fee is due June 30 of each year prior to the manufacturing and distribution of soil and plant amendments.

In order to apply for a soil and plant amendment license please complete form API-220 (Commercial Soil and Plant Amendment License).  Please read instructions completely and print or type legibly.  Instructions are on back of the hardcopy, or are included with the online version.

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Each brand shall be registered by the guarantor before being offered for sale, sold or distributed in Pennsylvania.  The annual registration fee is twenty-five dollars ($25) per product.  An application form (API-221), product label, and a fee must be submitted for review of compliance to the Pennsylvania Soil and Plant Amendment Act.  All brands of soil and/or plant amendments must be reviewed to receive registration approval prior to sale or distribution in Pennsylvania.  The registration is an annual renewal that is due by June 30 of each year.  A late penalty of twenty-five dollars ($25) may be assessed when registration for a soil/plant amendment is not renewed by the annual renewal date.

Inspection Fee and Tonnage Report

The guarantors/manufacturers of all soil and plant amendments offered for sale, sold or distributed in Pennsylvania shall pay semi-annually and not later than January 31st and July 31st of each year an inspection fee at the rate of fifteen cents ($.15) per ton on packages of more than fifteen pounds.  If reporting less than one ton, it should be reported as one ton and the minimum fee of twenty-five dollars ($25) is due.

On packages of fifteen pounds or less an inspection fee of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for each brand and separately identified soil amendment and plant amendment shall be paid annually and not later than January 31st.  In addition, the guarantor must submit a report stating the tons of each brand and separately identified soil amendment and plant amendment sold or distributed in Pennsylvania, by county, for the period of the inspection fee.  Reports are due on the same dates as the inspection fees.

API-226 - Annual Soil and Plant Amendment Tonnage Report for Containers of 15 Pounds or Less

API-227 -Semiannual Soil and Plant Amendment Report for Containers of Greater than 15 Pounds

A penalty of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) or ten percent of the inspection fee, whichever is greater, will be assessed for any fee or report not submitted at the required time.


Any soil or plant amendment distributed in Pennsylvania must contain the following label information in the following order:

  • The brand name.
  • The active ingredients:
    • Name and percentage of soil-amending ingredient.
    • Name and percentage of plant-amending ingredient.
  • The total percentage of other ingredients.
  • The purpose of the product.
  • The directions for application.
  • The name and address of the guarantor.
  • The net weight.

Adulteration and Misbranding

The Adulteration and Misbranding Sections of the new law have been expanded.  A soil amendment or plant amendment is now deemed adulterated if it contains a substance in sufficient quantity to render it harmful when used according to the intended use or directions for use on the label.