Environmentally-Friendly Gardening Tips
Do you use fertilizer on your lawn or landscape? Do you know if you’ve been applying fertilizer correctly? When over-applied or applied incorrectly, fertilizer can be very harmful for the environment. Over-fertilizing plants in a lawn or landscape can lead to pest problems, excessive growth, and the pollution of waterways and groundwater.
In Florida, the rainy season begins in the summer time, which means that there is a lot of rainwater running through lawns and landscapes. Water that isn’t absorbed by lawns or landscapes runs down streets, driveways, and sidewalks before eventually ending up going down a storm drain. Stormwater doesn’t get treated the way wastewater from homes does, so it empties directly into the closest body of water. Fertilizer that isn’t absorbed by the soil can get taken up by stormwater runoff and end up in the environment. This pollution of waterways can lead to the development of harmful algal blooms.
How can you reduce the amount of pollutants in stormwater runoff?
- Before applying fertilizer, do a soil test to find out what kinds of nutrients are in your soil and what nutrients your soil needs, if any.
- When applying fertilizer to your lawn or landscape, make sure to read the label in its entirety to be sure you’re applying the right amount of fertilizer. The labels will also tell you how to correctly apply the fertilizer.
- Be sure to use slow-releasing or controlled-release fertilizers so that your plants can take up nutrients gradually.
- Sweep fertilizer off of paved surfaces and either put it back in the bag or apply it to your lawn or landscape.
- If you use landscape professionals, make sure they have a "green industries best management practices" certification to apply fertilizer.
Find additional information here:
http://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/care/fertilizer/ [contains additional links about types of fertilizer, compost, how to apply fertilizer, etc.]