Lawn & Garden Tips

Fertilizer is one of the biggest pollutants to our creeks and streams. Talk with your local home and garden center about your lawn and how often to fertilize. You would be surprised by truly how little it needs.


Keep our creeks clean.
Properly maintain your lawn.

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Yard Maintenance Can Impact Water Quality

Lawn care, landscaping, and pest control practices are major contributors to stormwater pollution. Rain or melting snow flows across yards, rooftops, paved areas, and picks up dirt, leaves, grass clippings, garden chemicals, and anything else in its path. Then this polluted water flows directly into the storm drain system.


The Impact

Nutrients and other chemicals from yard waste can cause excessive algae growth and toxin production. Algae can rob the organisms that live in our streams from the oxygen they need to survive, not to mention killing fish along the way.

You Can Make a Difference

Lawn Care

  • Mow your lawn so no more than one-third of the length of the grass is removed.
  • Leave the grass blades on the lawn or compost.
  • Sweep grass on all paved areas back on the lawn.
  • Only spot treat for weeds or not at all.
  • Compost yard waste or participate in municipal collection or drop-off.


  • Do not over water. Excessive runoff wastes both water and chemicals you may have added to your yard.
  • Direct downspouts to a depressed area or a garden bed so the water soaks into your yard instead of rushing out to the street.


  • Fertilize only when necessary or not at all. Have your soil tested before you apply!
  • Do not fertilize if it the forecast calls for rain in the next day or two.

Yard Design

  • Consider installing a rain garden and directing your roof drains to it.
  • Incorporate swales and berms to your landscape so runoff is contained and doesn’t leave your yard.
  • Consider using bricks, flagstone, gravel, and other porous materials instead of impervious surfaces, such as sidewalks and driveways.
  • Add trees and shrubs to capture and hold rainwater before it can reach the ground.

Irrigation Ditches and Creek Areas

  • Keep a mowing and fertilizing buffer around ditches and creeks so that erosion and nutrient loading are minimized.

Exterior Cleaning

  • Use dry cleanup methods, such as a broom and dust pan whenever possible.
  • If you must use water, divert it to landscaping where it can infiltrate.