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? Plants can only utilize a certain amount of fertilizer, and the excess fertilizer washes away with the rain into neighborhood streams which eventually end up in the Chesapeake Bay.
Instead of applying chemical fertilizers, save yourself some time and money by mowing high and leaving your clippings. The 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.
Or try composting! Keep your leaves and trimmings in a pile and reuse the material as free mulch to enrich your soil and feed your plants.
Before applying fertilizer, test your soil. You may not need to fertilize! Contact your local extension office for a soil test kit.
If you do decide to fertilize, keep in mind that Fall is the best time to apply it and only use the minimum amount. More doesn't necessarily mean better.
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.