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.

Lawn clippings on street by storm drain.

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.

  1. Maintain a dense cover of grass or conservation landscaping to reduce runoff, prevent erosion, and retain nutrients
  2. Reduce or Eliminate Fertilizer
  3. Do not apply fertilizers before spring green up or after the grass becomes dormant
  4. Maximize use of slow release N fertilizer
  5. Immediately sweep off any fertilizer that lands on a paved surface
  6. Never apply fertilizer within 15 to 20 feet of any water feature and manage this zone as a grass, meadow, or forest buffer
  7. Keep clippings and mulched leaves on the lawn and keep them out of streets and storm drains
  8. Set mower height at 3 inches or taller
  9. Use other practices to increase the porosity and infiltration capability of your lawn to treat stormwater
  10. 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.

State Resource
Delaware http://ag.udel.edu/dstp/index.html
Maryland http://extension.umd.edu/hgic
Pennsylvania http://www.aasl.psu.edu/ssft.htm
Virginia http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/452/452-129/452-129.html
http://www.soiltest.vt.edu/
http://www.al-labs-eastern.com/
Lynnhaven River NOW and Elizabeth River Project have developed a form for A&L Eastern Labs to provide Bay-friendly recommendations (i.e., low Nitrogen):
http://lynnhavenrivernow.org/files/pages/Soil_sample_April_2010.pdf
West Virginia http://www.caf.wvu.edu/~forage/Sampling_Soils.htm

Bay-Friendly Lawn Care

Section 1.2 of the CSN Homeowner Guide for a More Bay- Friendly Property

Version october 1, 2013 | Size (423 KB) | File type (.pdf) | Download

List of Bay-Friendly Lawn Care Experts

Appendix E of the CSN Homeowner Guide for a More Bay- Friendly Property

Version october 1, 2013 | Size (244 KB) | File type (.pdf) | Download

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