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Homeowners Lawn Care Water Quality Almanac

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December maintenanceMaintenance equipment is your ally in protecting water quality — keep it in good condition.

Proper Equipment Use Affects Water Quality

  • Use rain gauges to determine irrigation needs so water is not wasted.
  • Properly adjust sprinkler heads to eliminate runoff.
  • Rake leaves and use for compost or mulch to prevent phosphorous runoff. Avoid using rotary spreaders around water bodies and impervious surfaces.
  • Use drop spreaders to increase accurate product applications.
  • Mow at the proper height to reduce the need for pesticide applications. 
  • Remove only one-third of the grass blade with sharp cutting edges.
  • Leave clippings on the lawn and avoid potential runoff while recycling nutrients.
  • Avoid fuel, oil, and grease spills. Never wash into storm drains.

Before Next Season: Equipment Tune-Up Time

  • Change spark plugs.
  • Sharpen reel or rotary blades.
  • Grease moving parts.
  • Change oil and empty gas tank. (Gas and oil become stale in the winter and may damage your engine.)
  • Check tires.
  • Clean and paint equipment if necessary.

Buy your lawn a gift with water quality in mind
Journal and camera are two of the most valuable tools in caring for your lawn and garden. They can create a history of your lawn. In the journal note the date of environmental conditions, problem areas, disease or insect problems, control measures and outcomes. Take photos of problem areas, weeds, disease, and areas that you are considering renovating. This is the time to plan next year’s strategies.
Magnifying glass and tweezers can come in handy when trying to identify an insect or disease problem.
Mower with adjustable heights and mulching capability.
Sturdy metal rake for roughing the soil surface when overseeding or patching.
Drop spreader to allow more precise application of material than a rotary spreader.
Weed trimmer to prevent the risk of damaging the base of trees or exposed roots as well as the blades of your mower on the sidewalk or driveway.
New sprinkler with a low flow rate for better infiltration.
pH kit to detect extremes or changes in pH, which signal a problem.
Tape measure because pesticide and fertilizer rates are usually given per 1,000 ft.2
Lawn Gifts

December is a good time to
  • add to your informational reference library.
  • sign up for seminars on lawn care and learn more about your  community’s efforts to preserve the quality of your watershed.

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This page last updated on
November 05, 2000

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