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Garden and Lawn Care

Fertilizers and pesticides both contain chemicals that can pollute our waterways. People use fertilizer to supply lawns and plants with the nutrients they need—primarily nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. However, residents can over-fertilize their plants, leading to an excess that is washed down our drains as runoff. When it comes to pesticides, applying or storing them incorrectly causes them to turn into polluted runoff if a heavy rainstorm comes through. 

How to prevent it:

  • Use grass clippings. Instead of applying chemical fertilizers, save yourself some time and money by mowing high and leaving your clippings. These lawn clippings break down and become free fertilizer! Just make sure you don't blow the clippings into the street or sidewalks where they can be washed into storm drains.

  • Compost. Keep your leaves and trimmings in a pile and reuse the material as free mulch to enrich your soil and feed your plants.

  • Test your soil. Soil tests can tell you if your soil actually needs fertilizer before you apply it.

  • Plant Native. Plants that are native to Northern Virginia are perfectly adapted to the local environment and don't need special care or fertilizers.


Learn more by visiting our Gardening and Lawn Care resource page.

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