Eco-Friendly Lawn Maintenance Tips: Managing Your Lawn To Minimize Fertilizer Runoff

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The way that you maintain your lawn can have a significant impact on local waterways. Fertilizer contains nitrogen and phosphorous, and grass needs both of these nutrients in order to be healthy.

Unfortunately, nitrogen and phosphorous are also excellent food for algae and tend to create algal blooms when they're washed into a waterway. Algal blooms can lower the quality of your drinking water, and some of them are very harmful to fish and other wildlife.

Thankfully, there are a few things that you can do in order to keep your local waterways healthy. Preventing fertilizer runoff also has the added bonus of keeping fertilizer where it's supposed to be: nourishing your lawn. To keep your lawn looking beautiful in a sustainable way, follow the lawn maintenance tips below.

Minimize Your Overall Use of Fertilizer

By keeping your use of fertilizer to a minimum, you'll reduce any negative impact that your lawn may have on the environment. You can also save money since the cost of chemical fertilizer can certainly add up over time.

Whenever you mow your lawn, leave the grass clippings on it rather than bagging them up. They'll decompose and the nutrients will go right back into the soil.

You should also consider using compost for your lawn instead of fertilizer. It provides ample amounts of nutrients, and it's also full of microorganisms that lead to a healthy soil biome.

Additionally, make sure you have your soil tested before you fertilize your lawn. If you're composting and leaving your grass clippings on it, you may not even need to use chemical fertilizer at all.

Avoid Overwatering

One of the ways to prevent runoff is to avoid using too much water on your lawn. If the soil is already saturated from overwatering, rainwater is more likely to run off of it. It can also lead to standing water on your lawn, which harms the health of your grass.

When you do need to use fertilizer, water your lawn lightly afterward. You only need to use enough water to carry the fertilizer off of the grass and into the soil.

However, the fertilizer still needs some time to mix into the soil. Check your local weather forecast for rain before you fertilize your lawn, and only fertilize it when there are two full days of sunny weather ahead. Otherwise, some of it will be washed away.

If you use a sprinkler system, make sure it's set up correctly. Water for a short period of time very early in the morning, and avoid watering any nonporous surfaces like your driveway or the street in front of your house. You want your sprinkler system to cover your entire lawn evenly so that some spots don't become too saturated.

Aerate Annually

Aerate your lawn at the start of growing season, and apply fertilizer afterward. When you aerate a lawn, you pull up tiny soil plugs, which causes the soil underneath your lawn to become less compacted.

When the soil is loose, water and fertilizer will soak into it rather than running off. You can either use a manual aerator or rent a push aerator from a home improvement store for this task.

By following the tips above, you'll avoid introducing fertilizer nutrients into the local waterways. You'll also save money on water and fertilizer while improving the health of your grass at the same time. If you're unsure of how to properly fertilize, water, and aerate your lawn in order to minimize runoff and keep your grass healthy, contact a local lawn maintenance company. They'll make your lawn look beautiful while minimizing environmental impact.