Bay-Friendly Lawn Care
Lawns make up a significant portion of individual properties and have been shown to produce more runoff than their forested counterparts. A recent research report by the Chesapeake Bay Program recommends ten practices that can make your lawn more Bay-friendly.
You should treat lawn clippings and tree leaves as if they were a bag of fertilizer, and strive to keep them on your lawn, and out of the gutter, street or storm drain system and never, ever dispose of yard waste in a ravine or near a stream.
- Maintain a dense cover of grass or conservation landscaping to reduce runoff, prevent erosion, and retain nutrients
- Reduce or Eliminate Fertilizer
- Do not apply fertilizers before spring green up or after the grass becomes dormant
- Maximize use of slow release N fertilizer
- Immediately sweep off any fertilizer that lands on a paved surface
- Never apply fertilizer within 15 to 20 feet of any water feature and manage this zone as a grass, meadow, or forest buffer
- Keep clippings and mulched leaves on the lawn and keep them out of streets and storm drains
- Set mower height at 3 inches or taller
- Use other practices to increase the porosity and infiltration capability of your lawn to treat stormwater
- Consult with your local extension service office or lawn care company to get the best advice on how to have a Bay-friendly lawn, which might involve a soil test analysis
The following is a list places within the watershed where you can get a soil test analysis to see what if any fertilizer is required for your lawn.
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