Fertilize Wisely

By National Gardening Association Editors


Lake Champlain International

Every summer across the country, algae blooms, large mats of smelly and sometimes toxic algae, deplete oxygen in the water of lakes and rivers, killing fish; close beaches; and have been known to make people ill and harm pets. Algae blooms are fed by excessive phosphorus in runoff from our lawns and farms where we sometimes over-fertilize grass and crops.

To help prevent these unsafe algae blooms, use lawn fertilizers only when they're needed. A simple soil test can tell you exactly which nutrients your lawn needs, if any. For example, often your lawn's soil already contains enough phosphorous for grass to be healthy. Adding more will just cause this nutrient to runoff into the watershed. Instead use a lawn fertilizer without phosphorus (the middle number in the fertilizer analysis will be zero). A little change can go a long way for clean water!

From our friends at Lake Champlain International, the water quality experts. More tips at www.mychamplain.net.

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