When it rains, the water washes fertilizer and other pollutants from our lawns over our driveways, sidewalks, and roads, into our storm drains where it flows directly – and untreated – into our rivers, lakes, and streams.
Phosphorus – commonly found in fertilizers – can cause toxic algae blooms and fish kill. Under Massachusetts law, you can only apply fertilizer with phosphorus if a soil test shows that phosphorus is needed or during the first growing season for a newly established lawn. All stormwater runoff in Woburn eventually flows to the Mystic River, which is listed as impaired for phosphorus. If everyone used phosphorous-free fertilizers it would help make the river cleaner!
Trying to figure out how to take care of your plants while also protecting our water? Consider the following tips:
- Test your soil and apply fertilizers only as needed
- Use Phosphorus-free fertilizers (the middle number is “0”)
- Use slow-acting fertilizers
- Follow instructions and do not over-fertilize
- Do not apply fertilizer before a rainstorm
- Leave grass clippings and add compost to your garden and lawn