Fertilizer helps our plants bloom in otherwise unhealthy soil conditions. An overabundance of fertilizer can lead to a significant amount of runoff into natural aquifer, watershed and various water supplies and bodies, creating a suffocating effect on the wildlife. Oxygen is depleted from the water due to the over population of the microorganisms that feed on the nutrients of the fertilizers. Once they die of by the millions, ammonia is added to the waters surface; further preventing oxygen from being replenished and a vicious cycle begins.
Minimizing fertilizer runoff is the best way to prevent algae blooms in local water supplies. Even if you don’t live near water, over fertilization can become a serious threat to underground water tables and aquifers.
Here are some tips for fertilizing your lawn and gardens at the correct times to prevent over fertilization preventing fertilizer runoff.
Fertilize only when the grass is actively growing
Spring and fall are some of the best seasons for fertilizers on your lawn.
Test before you buy fertilizers
Problem areas should be tested before you begin fertilizing to minimize fertilizer runoff. Your local garden center should be able to test soil samples for nutrient deficiencies, pest or under/over fertilization.
Use reclaimed water
Natural fertilizers can literally be grown in the soil by using water rich in greywater waste. These waste products are dissolved by microorganisms in the soil, which in turn live and die. There dead bodies become nutrients for plants, allowing you to use much less fertilizer.
Never fertilize before a storm
When storm water hits an area that has just been fertilized within 24 hours, it washes away into the watersheds of our lakes, streams and springs causing algae blooms. Always allow fertilizer 24 hours to absorb into the soil before any water hits it.
Properly store fertilizer
If loose fertilizer falls out of the bag; pick it up. It can easily become the culprit of over fertilization. Wash off lawn equipment over grass and not concrete. Store fertilizer in a dry location off of the ground and you can help minimize fertilizer runoff.