LAWN AND GARDEN CARE
fertilizing lawns and using other common chemicals, such as
pesticides and herbicides, remember youre not just spraying
the lawn. When it rains, the rain washes away fertilizers,
pesticides and herbicides along the curb and into storm drains,
which ultimately carry runoff into the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
In addition to degrading the water quality of our streams
and rivers, pesticides can kill critters in the stream and
fertilizers can cause algal blooms, which rob our waterways
of oxygen that fish need to survive. If you have to use fertilizers,
pesticides and herbicides, carefully read all labels and apply
these products sparingly.
Many homeowners are unaware of the actual
nutrient needs of their lawns. According to surveys conducted
by the Center for Watershed Protection, over 50% of lawn owners
fertilize their lawns, yet only 10-20% of lawn owners take the
trouble to perform soil tests to determine whether fertilization
is even needed (CWP, 1999). Organic lawn care practices (no chemical
pesticides and fertilizers) can also be a wise environmental choice
and will save you money. Conduct a soil test on your lawn and
adhere to the following practices to reduce the need to fertilize
on your lawn and garden.
Caring for your Lawn and Garden:
- Use fertilizers sparingly. Lawns and
many plants do not need as much fertilizer or need it as often
as you might think. Test your soil to be sure!
- Consider using organic fertilizers;
they release nutrients slower.
- Never fertilize before a rain storm
(the pollutants are picked up by stormwater during rain events).
- Keep fertilizer off of paved surfacesoff
of sidewalks, driveways, etc. If granular fertilizer gets onto
paved surfaces, collect it for later use or sweep it onto the
- Use commercially available compost or
make your own using garden waste. Mixing compost with your soil
means your plants need less chemical fertilizer and puts your
waste to good use.
- Let you grass clippings lay! Dont
bag the grass. Use a mulching lawn mower to cut one-third of
the blade length each week and naturally fertilize your lawn
in the process.
- Wash your spreader equipment on a pervious
(penetrable) vegetated area, like the lawn, to allow for the
natural absorption of excess fertilizer.
- Never apply fertilizer to frozen ground
or dormant lawns.
- Maintain a buffer strip of un-mowed
natural vegetation bordering waterways and ponds to trap excess
fertilizers and sediment from lawns/gardens.
- Grow an organic garden (no pesticides
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