Green Thumbs

 Did you know that fertilizers contain nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, which have a negative impact on the health and water quality of our local streams and the Chesapeake Bay? Plants can only utilize a certain amount of fertilizer, and the excess fertilizer washes away with the rain into neighborhood streams. Pesticides and herbicides used on lawns can wash off in the same manner. These chemicals indiscriminately kill beneficial plants and aquatic animals in our streams, the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay.


Green Thumb Tips

  • Before applying fertilizer, test your soil. You may not need to fertilize! Contact your local extension office for a soil test kit.
  • Fall is the best time to fertilize. Always read the instructions on the bag.
  • Avoid using chemicals in your yard. Keep it healthy for you, your family and your pets!
  • Try composting! Composting is a great way to recycle trimmings from your yard, and you can use the mulch to enrich your soil and feed your plants.
  • Use native plants. Native plants are adapted to the local climate and thrive in our local conditions without fertilizers and chemicals. They help feed local wildlife too!
  • Recycle your rainwater! Direct your downspouts to your garden beds to take advantage of the runoff from your house. Collect some of the water in a rain barrel or cistern.

    The obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana) is a Virginia native plant example. There are a variety of native plants to choose from and the spring native plant sales are a great way to learn about plant options.

Links to your Northern Virginia locality’s Green Thumb Tips are available on our Learn More page.


Upcoming Events

Native Plant Sales – Looking for some native plants? Check out these upcoming native plants sales this spring in Northern Virginia!

Rain Barrel Workshops – Get a rain barrel for your garden, save water and reduce runoff!

Earth Day at the Home Show and Garden Expo



Places to Know



Falls Church