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Lawn Care Blog

5 Responsible Ways to Fertilize Your Lawn and Protect Lake Erie

lake_erie_algaeWe have all heard about the recent toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie that caused a drinking water ban in Toledo. As the news points out, fertilizer and manure run-off into our waterways is a contributing factor to this problem. However, this does not mean that you can't fertilize your lawn while keeping our lake safe. We'll examine 5 ways that you can do both.

  1. Look for Fertilizers That Contain Little or No Phosphorus (P) - Phosphorus is a part of fertilizer that helps improve the root system in your lawn. However, when used in high amounts and washed into our waterways, it can encourage algae growth. Many companies, such as Weed Pro, have cut the amount of phosphorus in their blends to minimal levels, or even have discontinued using it. However, in a recent visit to several home improvement stores, fertilizer with high amounts of phosphorus are still available, and should be used only with care.

  2. Always Sweep Off Your Driveway & Sidewalks - As fertilizer is applied to your lawn, the turf is able to absorb the nutrients. However, broadcast spreaders do a good job of spreading fertilizer not only on lawns, but can also reach driveways and sidewalks. With nothing to absorb the fertilizer, rain or water can wash this product into storm drains. That's why it's important to blow, or sweep the fertilizer off of these areas.

  3. Never Empty Spreaders Containing Material, or Wash Them Out, near Storm Drains - Cleanliness is an important part of tool maintenance. However, washing material out of your spreader or dumping it in unsafe areas can cause the material to be washed into our storm drains. Clean out spreaders carefully, disposing of the fertilizer left-overs properly. Always contact a hazardous waste facility that accepts fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. 

  4. Consider Organic Fertilizer such as Holganix - Using organic fertilizer is a safe way of fertilizing your lawn, while keeping the environment safe. Most organic fertilizer is earth-friendly, and is a responsible way to fertilize your lawn. Weed Pro's organic product of choice, Holganix, is an earth-friendly blend that uses tea-extract and other natural materials to fertilize your lawn.

  5. Limit the Amount of Nitrogen (N) used For the Year - A good amount of nitrogen in your fertilizer can encourage your lawn to grow quickly and have it "screaming green" in a matter of time. However, too much nitrogen can be bad if washed into our waterways. That's why it's important to use a safe amount over the course of a season to allow your lawn to absorb the needed nutrients, and prevent dangerous runoff. Most responsible lawn care companies apply 3-4 pounds of nitrogen throughout the year.

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