Remember when you fertilize your lawn you fertilize our lakes!

Fertilizers can have a negative impact our lakes. As lake residents living on or near the water’s edge we all carry an added responsibility to help keep our lakes clean and protected from as many pollutants as possible. There are a few simple steps we can take to help ensure the health of our lakes.

How can you help?

  1. The best thing to do is to avoid the use of fertilizers and chemicals on your lawn and gardens. However, if you use fertilizers, remember the steeper the slope the more likely your fertilizers and chemicals will “runoff” into the lake. After fertilizing, lightly water the area to move the chemicals into the thatch and roots of your grass and plants. This will reduce runoff.
  2. Create a 5- to 10-foot buffer strip of native plants adjacent to the lake and apply no fertilizer to this strip.

Some facts about the classic fertilizer mix (nitrogen — phosphorus — potassium) are:

  1. Nitrogen is the most soluble of these 3 ingredients. And is most likely to “runoff”. It can cause weed and algae growth which can have a negative impact on the quality of our water.
    1. Use at least 25 to 35 percent slow-release nitrogen. Organic-based nitrogen fertilizers will likely be slow release. Check the labels.
  2. Phosphorus has the harmful impact on aquatic weed growth and should not be used on lawns adjacent to water. Phosphorus attaches itself to soil so it is also important that your soil is not eroding into the lake.
    1. Use zero phosphorus fertilizers; most soils have adequate phosphorus levels.
  3. Potassium has minimal impact and is not considered a common problem
  4. Don’t apply fertilizer in the spring until 3 weeks after lawn green-up.
  5. Keep fertilizers off any hard surface such as concrete or asphalt surfaces. Rain can carry these materials into drainage systems. Sweep fertilizers off driveways, patios, etc., and back onto the lawn.
  6. READ THE LABELS! Use only as directed.
  7. Make sure your professional lawn care service technicians know and understand how to protect our lake.

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