Mowing season is again in full swing, it’s a little known fact that when you mow your lawn, the grass clippings that may fly onto any public street or gutter, they may end up harming the local waterways, adding to ocean pollution, and even, resulting in a potential violation of your local city or county’s Stormwater Ordinance. If your city has implemented a storm water ordinance to keep the natural waterways clean, your own efforts to control grass clippings from entering onto the streetscape are important components toward achieving stormwater pollution prevention.
No pollutants, including green debris and sediments, should enter the storm drain system in order to prevent stormwater pollution of the local waterways. The only exemption to the rule is the natural rain runoff. However, blocked catch basin inlets, due to grass clippings and other debris discarded in the street gutters, provide a greater chance for flooding during heavier storm events.
In addition, any nutrients i.e., chemical, or potential contaminants that are attached to the grass clippings can be carried by the storm water runoff, resulting in an eventual accumulation in the nearest drainage channel, and ultimately, the ocean. There is no treatment facility at the end of the drainage channel to clean up the accumulated debris and chemicals. It is vital that we keep our community clean with cooperation by everyone. We can keep our drainage waters cleaner and enjoy our beaches!
Reduce the grass clipping waste your lawn generates and save time by following the simple guidelines listed below.
Tips on Reducing the Amount of Green Waste From Your Lawn:
• Prior to employing a landscaping company to maintain your lawn, make sure that they are aware of the local regulations and that no grass clippings are to remain in the street gutter or washed down into the stormdrain system.
• Limit use of fertilizers and pesticides on lawns
• Fertilize your lawn by leaving your grass clippings behind! Grass clippings are rich in nitrogen, an important fertilizing agent. Leaving clippings on your lawn all season is the same as one fertilizer application!
• Excess clippings should be composted at home to be used as an organic fertilizer for the rest of your yard.
• Avoid using discing methods when maintaining your lawn due to the ease of the grass blades entering the adjacent street gutter during a discing routine.
• Let your grass grow 3 to 4 inches in overall height. Longer grass will encourage a deeper root system, shade out weeds, and help your lawn retain moisture.
• Cut only the top third of grass (around 1″) with each cutting.
• Use a Sharp Blade. A sharp blade (sharpened twice a year) means finer clippings that decompose quickly.
• Consider purchasing a mulching mower.
• Use Grass Clippings as Mulch. If you bag your clippings, use them as mulch in gardens or around the base of trees and shrubs, they will suppress weeds, keep plant roots cool and moist and prevent soil erosion. Mix the clippings with topsoil to prevent them from washing or blowing away. Clippings will decompose quickly when used as mulch.