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Homeowners Lawn Care Water Quality Almanac

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Doing it Right!

Healthy lawns, Healthy environment
As urbanization continues, land is replaced with impervious surfaces and compacted soils, leading to increased surface runoff and decreased infiltration. In some places, surface runoff loaded with sediments, chemicals, oil, gas, salts, and fertilizers does not flow into sewage treatment plants and may go directly into our water system. Adopting the principles and techniques outlined in this almanac can play a critical role in preserving water quality.


 
Tips
  • Take soil tests to determine what, if any, physical or chemical amendments your soil needs.
  • If there is a lake, pond, or stream on your property allow a natural buffer zone to prevent bank erosion and filter substances between the lawn and the water. Allow the lawn to  grow long.
  • Fall is an ideal time to patch or renovate bare or thin spots to reduce runoff and erosion. 
  • For top-notch establishment don’t take shortcuts during seedbed preparation.
  • Use grass species adapted to your site and maintain them according to recommendations.  In deep shade consider alternative ground covers or wood chips.
  • To avoid runoff, know your infiltration rate and irrigation amount.
  • To avoid plant stress, postpone aeration or dethatching in very wet or very dry conditions.
  • Do not mix, apply, or dispose of any chemicals within 100 feet of a well. Clean up any  spills on driveways, sidewalks, or paths rather than hosing into the street.
  • Read the label and follow manufacturer’s directions for any materials applied. There is no truth to the thought that “if a little works, more will work better.” In fact, using excess  fertilizers or pesticides can burn your lawn. Irrigate (0.25 to 0.5 inch) after an application  of fertilizer to get the material into the ground where it can be used by the plants
  • To avoid runoff, do not apply pesticides or fertilizers to soil that is already saturated or frozen.
  • Leave clippings on the lawn to recycle nutrients and reduce phosphorus loading of  water bodies.
  • Mulch or collect and compost fallen leaves to protect both the lawn and our water.
  • Scout your property regularly to detect and identify problems as early as possible.  Pests have a timetable and so do control measures.

Read all labels before applying
Fertilizer

November is a good time for

  • Mowing: Continue until the grass stops growing. Avoid having tall turf bend over and mat on the surface to form the perfect environment for disease.
  • Raking: Keep tree leaves off paved surfaces.
  • Fertilizing: Final 1 lb. N per 1,000 ft.2 two weeks after your last mowing.
  • Irrigating: Taper off to none so as to harden plants for winter.
 

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This page last updated on
November 05, 2000

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