Yard and Lawn Care Concerns Homeowners use 10 times more chemicals and pesticides than farmers use. If applied improperly, these chemicals may pollute drinking water wells, lakes and streams. Soil erosion from bare areas harms wildlife habitat and chokes waterways. Excessive watering of lawns and gardens wastes large amounts of water.
Soil Tests • Soil tests let you know if your lawn needs fertilizer. • A soil test will help determine how much lime, phosphate and potash your lawn needs. • Test your soil every three to four years.
Fertilizer • Fertilizer does the most good when applied at the right time and in the right amount. • Apply fertilizer at recommended rates. • Time applications to meet plant needs. • Do not apply fertilizer before a predicted rainstorm.
Pesticides • Plant problems can be caused by many things besides insects or disease. • Apply pesticides only where pests occur. • Use the least toxic chemicals or ones that break down quickly. • Read labels carefully and follow directions. • Don’t apply pesticides within 24 hours of a predicted rainstorm.
Soil Erosion • Gardens, lawns and building sites with bare soil are prone to soil erosion. • To prevent soil erosion, do the following: • Plant ground cover vegetation. • Use mulch or landscape fabric. • Build terraces or retaining walls on steep slopes. • Choose resistant plants for your garden.
Composting • Composting creates organic fertilizer and soil-enhancing materials. • To compost, put yard wastes in a pile or use homemade or store-bought bins. • Add vegetable trimmings and fruit waste. • Turn and aerate the pile frequently. • Locate compost pile at least 50 feet from wells or bodies of water.
Watering Plants • Water slowly and deeply to develop deep roots. • Water in the morning or evening and only as needed. • Use low water-use devices such as soaker hoses or drip irrigation. • Don’t over water. Consider letting cool season lawn grasses go dormant during dry periods.
Plant Choice • Choose plants adapted to your area and climate. • Consider drought tolerant native plants. • Plant perennial flowers because they require little or no watering once established. • Mulch bare areas with wood or bark chips to reduce water runoff and evaporation.