It’s shaping up to be an unusual spring for the landscapers of Martha’s Vineyard. For one thing, persistent snow cover has forced a late start.

“Normally I would have been out for the last couple of weeks,” said Tisbury landscaper Tristan Israel. “We would all be out working and getting things ready for spring.”

Landscapers are also adjusting to new regulations that limit the use of lawn fertilizer, which have been effective since January. This year, fertilizer can’t be applied until April 15, according to the regulations, which establish a licensure process for fertilizer users.

The rules, which are enforceable Island-wide, were created to curb the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus leaching into the Vineyard’s ponds and coastal waters. When present in excess amounts, as it is in several Vineyard watersheds, nitrogen can become a pollutant, triggering dense plant growth through a process called eutrophication.

Among other guidelines, the new regulations prohibit the application of fertilizer during rainstorms and near storm drainage systems, and limit the amount of fertilizer allowed per application and per season.

“The idea is to set a limit and to reduce unnecessary and inappropriate use of fertilizer,” said Edgartown health agent Matt Poole, who led the effort to create regulations. “Though only a small percentage of the total local nitrogen in the environment comes from fertilizer, it is a low hanging fruit to some extent, unlike hundreds of millions of dollars in sewering.”

In order to get licensed, property owners and landscape professionals must enroll in a fertilizer education course and pass an exam. It costs $100 for the three-year license, which is valid in each town, and $85 for the course and exam. A class meets this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the regional high school, and as of Wednesday, 90 people had signed up.

Matthew Crowther, who oversees 50 acres of turf at Mink Meadows Golf Club in Vineyard Haven, is one of them. Last year, when regulations were being finalized, Mr. Crowther sat in on the process as a representative for the golf clubs. When he was asked to participate, he took the opportunity to educate people about the environmental practices of golf courses.

“You either get on the bus and try to steer it in any way you can to protect your livelihood or you get run over by it,” he said.

In fact, he says, the golf courses on Martha’s Vineyard are already applying fertilizer below the limit set in the regulations. Lawn care budgets have been cut over the past decade, Mr. Crowther said, so golf clubs are already working hard not to waste fertilizer. That’s why he says the regulations won’t present a major encumbrance for his golf club.

“It’s just learning what the rules are and tweaking your program,” he said.

Tweaking his program will mean fertilizing more often with smaller quantities, which will cost him more in labor, he said. Landscapers interviewed this week said basically the same thing. The new rules might take some adjusting, but overall, they weren’t a big deal.

Landscaper Mark Crossland, who is now in his 40th year of business, said he’s already in compliance. Even at Ocean Park, an often lush stretch of green in downtown Oak Bluffs, he uses organic fertilizer.

“That’s just good maintenance,” he said by phone this week. “It’s not healthy for the turf to over-fertilize.”

He’s sending his two sons and daughter to the class on Saturday, though they already hold organic applicator licenses with the state.

“I think it’s a very good thing for the Island,” he said. “It will help to keep the ponds clean.”

Landscaper John F. Hoff said the Island is already ahead of the curve in its use of organic fertilizer.

“I think that these regulations, and the general awareness they will encourage, is going to be a positive step for the future of the Island,” he said. “I would also like the water to be safe for the children, the animals and the plants.”

The town boards of health issue licenses and have the authority to enforce them. Mr. Israel, who is also a selectman in Tisbury, said he hadn’t heard a lot of negative feedback about the regulations, though some complained about the fees involved.

“I grumble about that too, but it’s the right thing to do,” he said.